Alice's adventures in um-derland: psycholinguistic sources of variation in disfluency production

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, Volume 29, Number 9, p.1083-1096 (2014)





discourse, Disfluency, Language production


This study tests the hypothesis that three common types of disfluency (fillers, silent pauses and repeated words) reflect variance in what strategies are available to the production system for responding to difficulty in language production. Participants’ speech in a storytelling paradigm was coded for the three disfluency types. Repeats occurred most often when difficult material was already being produced and could be repeated, but fillers and silent pauses occurred most when difficult material was still being planned. Fillers were associated only with conceptual difficulties, consistent with the proposal that they reflect a communicative signal, whereas silent pauses and repeats were also related to lexical and phonological difficulties. These differences are discussed in terms of different strategies available to the language production system.