13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Interactions Between Turn-taking Gaps, Disfluencies and Social Obligation

Rebecca Lunsford, Peter A. Heeman, Jan P. H. van Santen

Center for Spoken Language Understanding, OHSU, Beaverton, OR, USA

Speakers strive to minimize inter-turn gaps when engaged in a dialogue. However, little work has addressed what impact this might have on the fluency of the following speech. In this paper we explore whether there are interactions between turn-taking gaps and turn-initial disfluencies and if the social pressure to respond to questions plays a role in that interaction. Our results indicate that child speakers are more likely to become disfluent both after a question and as the gap length increases, and that the two interact to further increase the likelihood. We also compared the speech of children with Typical Development (TD) to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), where we found that those with ASD were less likely to become disfluent after a question. This finding suggests that the trade-off between timing and disfluencies is driven by social obligation, and that speakers are willing to tolerate disfluencies so as to maintain a short delay.

Index Terms: turn-taking gaps, disfluencies, social pressure, language impairments

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Lunsford, Rebecca / Heeman, Peter A. / Santen, Jan P. H. van (2012): "Interactions between turn-taking gaps, disfluencies and social obligation", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 607-610.