Disfluency and Syntax

"Disfluency" (or "Dysfluency") in spontaneous speech is a complex topic, with a vast literature spanning many disciplines. But for reasons we'll discuss, there's little or no systematic discussion of what the interaction of disfluency with syntactic structure might tell us about syntactic theories. In particular, a question that came up last week -- what the distribution of silent and/or filled pauses might tell us about the syntax of complementizers -- doesn't seem to have been studied.

Instead, most of the syntactically-oriented discussion focuses on how to modify parsers so that they can cope with (textual transcriptions of) disfluencies, often with the goal of eliminating them to make reading easier. And the psycholinguistic literature addresses a different set of questions, like disfluencies' communicative effects. Anyhow, I've listed below a very small set of readings for discussion in today's session.

Brennan, Susan E., and Maurice Williams. "The feeling of another's knowing: Prosody and filled pauses as cues to listeners about the metacognitive states of speakers." Journal of memory and language 34, no. 3 (1995): 383-398.

McKelvie, David. "The syntax of disfluency in spontaneous spoken language." HCRC Research Paper (1998).

Clark, Herbert H., and Jean E. Fox Tree. "Using uh and um in spontaneous speaking." Cognition 84, no. 1 (2002): 73-111.

Ferreira, Fernanda, Ellen F. Lau, and Karl GD Bailey. "Disfluencies, language comprehension, and tree adjoining grammars." Cognitive Science 28, no. 5 (2004): 721-749.

Ginzburg, Jonathan, Raquel Fernández, and David Schlangen. "Disfluencies as intra-utterance dialogue moves." Semantics and Pragmatics 7 (2014): 9-1.

Wieling, Martijn, Jack Grieve, Gosse Bouma, Josef Fruehwald, John Coleman, and Mark Liberman. "Variation and change in the use of hesitation markers in Germanic languages." Language Dynamics and Change 6, no. 2 (2016): 199-234.

"Um, there's timing information in Switchboard?", Language Log 10/5/2014.

"On thee-yuh fillers uh and um", Language Log 11/11/2014.

"Dysfluency considered harmful", Language Log 5/19/2019.

"Communicative disfluencies interpolations", Language Log 12/14/2019.