Department of Linguistics
University of Pennsylvania
Repetitive phenomena in fluent spontaneous speech: What can they tell us about speech production?
Disfluencies such as false starts, silent and filled pauses, and self repairs often provide valuable information about speech planning and are cited as evidence in support of architectures of production models. Repetitions, a common phenomenon in the speech of fluent adult speakers, are often treated as a kind of disfluency caused by problems in speech planning. Two types of repetitions are commonly identified: repetitions due to hesitation and repetitions as covert repair. In this talk, I will bring to the attention a third kind of repetitions: rapid fluent repetitions of single syllable function words. Evidence from distributional and acoustic analyses puts it into question that this kind of repetition is a form of speech disfluency caused by either planning difficulty or the need for repair. However, an account based on pure speech motor control models cannot fully explain the importance of word boundaries in such repetitions: similar repetition phenomenon can be observed in Czech, which is a morphologically complex language and in which rapid fluent partial word repetitions do not have higher frequency compared to English. I argue that this kind of repetitive phenomenon in fluent spontaneous speech suggests the existence of motor control problem between word and phonological levels of processing during speech production.