Speech Production Writeup

Listen to the first minute of the 3-minute audio clip. Try to notice the disfluencies that the speaker produces while describing the procedures for using an electron microscope at work. Pay attention to pauses, filled pauses (“words” like um, ah, or you know), and repairs and re-starts.

Knowledge integration: Identify and transcribe (i.e., write out sentences containing) five disfluencies from the audio clip. Where are the most common places in the sentence at which disfluencies occur? Can you generate any intuitions about what might have caused a momentary difficulty? For example, do you think the speaker was struggling to identify what conceptual content to convey, which sentence structure to use, or trying to choose a particular word to express a concept? Explain in a sentence or two and connect your explanation to material covered in lectures/readings.

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Critical thinking: Propose an idea for a more detailed analysis of the disfluencies in these audio clips. For example, among other observations, you might be interested in counting and comparing the specific syntactic element that is preceded by the disfluency, whether different types of disfluencies (pauses versus filled pauses) occur in different sentence contexts, and the length or frequency of words that follow that disfluency. Can you draw any conclusions from your observations (it’s okay if you can’t!)? Provide an explanation of what you think these observations might be able to tell you about the nature of language production.

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