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Mem Cognit. 2001 Mar;29(2):320-6.

Listeners' uses of um and uh in speech comprehension.

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Psychology Department, University of California, Santa Cruz 95064, USA.


Despite their frequency in conversational talk, little is known about how ums and uhs affect listeners' on-line processing of spontaneous speech. Two studies of ums and uhs in English and Dutch reveal that hearing an uh has a beneficial effect on listeners' ability to recognize words in upcoming speech, but that hearing an um has neither a beneficial nor a detrimental effect. The results suggest that um and uh are different from one another and support the hypothesis that uh is a signal of short upcoming delay and um is a signal of a long upcoming delay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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