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Hesitation in speaker's production and listener's reproduction of utterances

James G. Martin

Twenty-four college Ss (encoders) described TAT pictures in short utterances.  Each was yoked unsystematically with one of 24 listener Ss (decoders) who heard his recorded utterances and attempted to reproduce them.  Words were classified as content or function.  While encoders and decoders yielded about the same proportion of content words (41%), encoders yielded a relatively higher proportion of repeats, unfilled pauses, and total hesitations before content words (which have greater uncertainty) than did decoders.  Decoders placed relatively more of their hesitations at sentence breaks than did encoders.  Apparently, while encoder pauses reflect uncertainty, decoder pauses tend more to mark grammatical boundaries.  The selection of semantic-syntactic structure precedes selection of individual words during encoding but follows during decoding.
Martin, J. 1967 Hesitation in speaker's production and listener's reproduction of utterances. In Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 6: 903-909.

Key points relevant to the study of filled pauses


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