Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (DiSS'01)

August 29-31, 2001
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Do Non-Word Disfluencies Affect Syntactic Parsing?

Karl G. D. Bailey and Fernanda Ferreira

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science Program, Michigan State University, USA

Although disfluencies such as uh are generally not treated as linguistic items, our results suggest that they can affect syntactic parsing. Using a grammaticality judgment task, we demonstrate that disfluencies are able to affect the syntactic parse of a sentence in two ways. First, disfluencies can make syntactic reanalysis more difficult by coming between an ambiguous constituent and a disambiguating item. Second, the pattern of disfluencies in spontaneous speech may be used by the listener to guide the parse of a sentence. Thus, although disfluencies have often been viewed as pragmatic phenomena, they can affect the language comprehension by influencing its parsing procedures.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bailey, Karl G. D. / Ferreira, Fernanda (2001): "Do non-word disfluencies affect syntactic parsing?", In DISS'01, 61-64.