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Lang Speech. 2001 Jun;44(Pt 2):123-47.

Disfluency rates in conversation: effects of age, relationship, topic, role, and gender.

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Brown University, USA.


After reviewing situational and demographic factors that have been argued to affect speakers' disfluency rates, we examined disfluency rates in a corpus of task-oriented conversations (Schober & Carstensen, 2001 ) with variables that might affect fluency rates. These factors included: speakers' ages (young, middle-aged, and older), task roles (director vs. matcher in a referential communication task), difficulty of topic domain (abstract geometric figures vs. photographs of children), relationships between speakers (married vs. strangers), and gender (each pair consisted of a man and a woman). Older speakers produced only slightly higher disfluency rates than young and middle-aged speakers. Overall, disfluency rates were higher both when speakers acted as directors and when they discussed abstract figures, confirming that disfluencies are associated with an increase in planning difficulty. However, fillers (such as uh) were distributed somewhat differently than repeats or restarts, supporting the idea that fillers may be a resource for or a consequence of interpersonal coordination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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