Here’s everything about Elon Musk stuttering:
Elon Musk does often stutter when making public appearances and giving public speeches.
He does not have a strong or overwhelming stutter, and he is often able to communicate just fine through the stutter.
But, if you listen carefully, you will notice the abnormal speech patterns and timings that represent his stutter.
So if you want to learn all about Elon Musk’s stutter, then you’re in the right place.
Does Elon Musk Stutter?
As you just read, Elon Musk definitely does stutter.
He does not have the most pronounced or severe stutter, but some subtle stuttering is evident in a number of his public speeches.
Even in the first minute of this speech, you’ll hear it.
Despite the presence of this stutter, Musk is a well-known public speaker.
More accurately, he’s a public figure, and as such, he has given many high-profile speeches.
So, what’s the deal?
Why does he stutter?
Why doesn’t it keep him from giving public speeches?
What can we take away from his stutter?
What Is a Stutter? (2 Causes)
This conversation really gets going if we take a deeper look at stuttering.
What is it?
Scientifically speaking, stuttering is a speech disorder.
It can be tied to a lot of different things.
A stutter can be an expression of intense psychological disorders or challenges, like Tourette syndrome, or it can be as simple as an expression of nervousness.
To count as a stutter, it’s a simple matter of repeating speech sounds, even subtly, in the middle of communication.
Even if you only stutter once or twice in an entire speech, that would still technically count.
With all of that considered, scientists largely categorize the root causes of stuttering in two ways.
#1 Speech Motor Control
The first is speech motor control.
This is a description of the physical things involved in talking—such as moving your facial muscles in order to form the sounds you want to make.
This is more of a neurological thing than a purely psychological thing (although psychology can play a part).
What this is really saying is that researchers believe that stuttering can stem from abnormalities in a person’s raw ability to control their mouths and faces while speaking.
The motor control issues can be related to a lot of other things (including psychological impacts), but the core of the whole thing is that the stutter is tied to how well you can control your body when you make speech sounds.
In other words, this type of stutter is not rooted in stopping what you’re saying to rethink your words.
A lot of stutterers would describe the process as stopping to think or letting their brains catch up, but research somewhat disagrees with this assessment.
Supposedly, stopping and thinking produces identifiably different speech patterns from a true stutter.
The other root form of stuttering is genetic.
Now, the genetic roots might still lead to speech motor control issues, but in the former category, people can develop those motor control issues due to environmental factors.
For some, stuttering is not environmental.
They inherit their stutter.
In my research, I was not able to find any papers that distinctly identify a stuttering gene or gene group.
Despite that, there is strong evidence that a stutter can run in a family, so scientists continue to offer this classification of stuttering.
Why Does Elon Musk Stutter? (4 Factors)
So, which of these issues applies to Elon Musk’s stuttering?
I don’t know.
Any evidence of genetic stuttering in his case is not readily available.
So, I can’t tell you which of the primary categories applies to Musk.
But, from Musk’s interviews, books, and other publicly available information, some things are apparent.
Above the root cause, there are some very likely contributors to his stutter, so we can look at those.
Elon Musk has disclosed that he has Asperger’s syndrome.
While Asperger’s does not always cause a stutter, there is a high correlation between this syndrome and stuttering.
More specifically, Asperger’s is known to exacerbate stuttering issues that are present in a person.
Since Musk has Asperger’s, if he has any other contributing factors, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to hear him stutter.
As you’re about to see, that is absolutely the case.
Musk has publicly criticized his own public speaking skills.
He has made it clear that he doesn’t particularly enjoy public speaking and that nervousness is definitely a problem for him.
Nervousness is something else that often correlates with stuttering.
It’s uncertain if the effect is entirely psychological or if the heightened levels of stress hormones initiate (or complicate) a motor-control issue, but being nervous certainly doesn’t help with stuttering.
This alone, combined with Asperger’s would be enough to expect stuttering, but Musk has two other issues working against him.
Another issue for Musk (that probably makes his nervousness worse), is that he is known to under prepare for public speaking.
He doesn’t exactly make a lot of time for preparing speeches (apparently he’s busy or something), and he’s known to do a lot of his speaking off the cuff.
Because of this, he’s more likely to have speech issues in addition to stuttering.
He might need to pause and think about what he wants to say.
When that is combined with his natural, soft stutter, it makes the speech abnormalities much more obvious to the listener.
#4 Language Barrier
Musk is from South Africa, so English is his first language, and he is definitely fluent.
He also speaks Afrikaans.
But, South African English is noticeably different from any other form of English spoken around the world.
Most commonwealth countries have a lot of speech patterns in common, but South Africa is a bit of an outlier in this regard.
As such, the English that Musk speaks tends to differ from that of his audiences (especially American audiences).
This affects his comfort with what he’s saying, and that contributes to the stutter.
On top of that, Asperger’s syndrome can also create issues with speech fluency.
Even though someone with Asperger’s does have a command of their native language, the way they speak loses fluidity in terms of time patterning (I’ve already linked this study).
So, when you add even a wrinkle to the language and combine it with Asperger’s, stuttering is a common outcome.