Disfluency in dialogue: an intentional signal from the speaker?

Ian R Finlayson, Martin Corley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Disfluency is a characteristic feature of spontaneous human speech, commonly seen as a consequence of problems with production. However, the question remains open as to why speakers are disfluent: Is it a mechanical by-product of planning difficulty, or do speakers use disfluency in dialogue to manage listeners' expectations? To address this question, we present two experiments investigating the production of disfluency in monologue and dialogue situations. Dialogue affected the linguistic choices made by participants, who aligned on referring expressions by choosing less frequent names for ambiguous images where those names had previously been mentioned. However, participants were no more disfluent in dialogue than in monologue situations, and the distribution of types of disfluency used remained constant. Our evidence rules out at least a straightforward interpretation of the view that disfluencies are an intentional signal in dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-8
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Choice Behavior
  • Humans
  • Social Behavior
  • Speech
  • Speech Production Measurement


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