Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 75–87 | Cite as

Hesitation and semantic planning in speech

  • Brian Butterworth


Samples of spontaneous speech were analyzed according to their distributions of phonations and silences. Some of these exhibited cyclic, or “rhythmic,” patterns, in the sense defined by Goldman-Eisler. Transcripts of three such samples were subjected to a segmentation procedure carried out by independent judges utilizing a common semantic intuition. Points in the transcripts where agreement was high among the judges were found to correspond with the beginnings of temporal cycles, and agreed semantic segments coincided with sentence or clause boundaries and usually consisted of several clauses and more than one sentence. It is argued that a theory of speech generation must contain provision for semantic integration at the suprasentential level.


Cognitive Psychology Temporal Cycle Spontaneous Speech Segmentation Procedure Speech Generation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Butterworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland

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