ERIC Number: EJ1079873
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
I Forget What That's Called! Children's Online Processing of Disfluencies Depends on Speaker Knowledge
Orena, Adriel John; White, Katherine S.
Child Development, v86 n6 p1701-1709 Nov-Dec 2015
Speech disfluencies can convey information to listeners: Adults and children predict that filled pauses (e.g., "uhh") will be followed by referents that are difficult to describe or are new to the discourse. In adults, this is driven partly by an understanding that disfluencies reflect processing difficulties. This experiment examined whether 3½-year-olds' use of disfluencies similarly involves inferences about processing difficulty. Forty children were introduced to either a knowledgeable or a forgetful speaker, who then produced fluent and disfluent utterances. Children exposed to the knowledgeable speaker looked preferentially at novel, discourse-new objects during disfluent utterances. However, children who heard the forgetful speaker did not. These results suggest that, like adults, children modify their expectations about the informativeness of disfluencies on a speaker-specific basis.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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