Do I Stutter or Mumble?

Posted On: September 4, 2013

In the previous post, I discussed about stuttering. Some may be new to this term, thinking mumbling and stuttering are the same. Mumbling is different than stuttering.  

Comparing Mumbling and Stuttering:

Mumbling is when:  

  • You do not open your mouth when you speak 
  • May breathe shallowly and quickly 
  • Jaw doesn’t open wide enough for the sounds to come out 
  • Sounds come out between the teeth and are distorted 
  • Speech Volume is low 
  • Words get pushed together 
  • Listeners cannot hear the speaker/unable to distinguish words 


  • Repeating of sounds/words
  • Adding extra words
  • Opening the mouth is not a problem
  • May breathe deeply, but breathe or stop too often, repeatedly or at wrong times
  • Sounds come out, but sometimes repeat of sounds, additional sounds, words, etc.
  • Sounds are not distorted by not opening the jaw, mouth or teeth being in the way
  • Sounds are distorted due to sustaining sounds or repeating or adding sounds
  • Speech volume is typically loud enough for others to hear
  • Words may not be pushed together, but said further apart, repeated, sounds added
  • Listeners can hear the speaker, but are not able to get a fluent understanding of what is being said due to repeated sounds/words/phrases, etc.

Yes, mumblers can stutter, and stutters can mumble. I think for you, you do not mumble. After looking at the checklists above, you can make the determination for yourself as well.

Ways to overcome mumbling and stuttering are discussed in these videos.

See this video from Jay  on Speaking without Mumbling 

See this video about the importance of dropping your jaw to stop mumbling 

In this video, Arpit Gupta, a person who is working on overcoming his own stuttering is sharing a tip. I agree with his tip and have actually suggested this tip to stutters and non-stutters alike to improve voice clarity and pacing. 

Tips from young people [In India] who stammer or stutter.

Jennifer Kumar helps Indians learn to speak with more clarity and confidence in the appropriate cultural context with American colleagues and clients. Contact us for more information.

Updated May 2017,8

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