ERIC Number: EJ1177292
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Disfuencies Signal Reference to Novel Objects for Adults but Not Children
Owens, Sarah J.; Thacker, Justine M.; Graham, Susan A.
Journal of Child Language, v45 n3 p581-609 May 2018
Speech disfluencies can guide the ways in which listeners interpret spoken language. Here, we examined whether three-year-olds, five-year-olds, and adults use filled pauses to anticipate that a speaker is likely to refer to a novel object. Across three experiments, participants were presented with pairs of novel and familiar objects and heard a speaker refer to one of the objects using a fluent ("Look at the ball/lep!") or disfluent ("Look at thee uh ball/lep!") expression. The salience of the speaker's unfamiliarity with the novel referents, and the way in which the speaker referred to the novel referents (i.e., a noun vs. a description) varied across experiments. Three- and five-year-olds successfully identified familiar and novel targets, but only adults' looking patterns reflected increased looks to novel objects in the presence of a disfluency. Together, these findings demonstrate that adults, but not young children, use filled pauses to anticipate reference to novel objects.
Descriptors: Speech Communication, Young Children, Adults, Age Differences, Novelty (Stimulus Dimension), Familiarity, Language Usage, Language Fluency
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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