This study investigated the effect of discourse markers, uh, um, and like in spoken
utterances on the overall naturalness of the utterance perceived by listeners. Two
conditions were explored: um/uh contrasted in sentences of high and low predictability,
and like contrasted in grammatically correct and grammatically incorrect locations within
the sentence. Two listener groups consisted of a skilled group, composed of licensed
speech language pathologists and graduate students in their second year of a Master’s
degree program, and an unskilled group of listeners who had no formal training in speech
language pathology. The results showed that all listeners, regardless of group, rated a
difference in naturalness of sentences in the like condition, with ungrammatical like rated
less natural than grammatical like. Listeners did not rate a difference between uh/um, nor
did they rate a difference between high and low predictability sentences. As a group,
unskilled listeners rated sentences, regardless of condition, as less natural than skilled listeners.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. July 2012. Major: Speech-language-hearing sciences. Advisor: Benjamin Munson, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 52 pages, appendices A-E.
Kawatski, Laura Elizabeth.
Listener perception of naturalness for spoken utterances containing discourse markers um, uh, and like..
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