The effects that speakers' disfluencies make on the listener are rather complex; in other words, the perceptual mechanism of the listener reacts to disfluencies in a very peculiar manner. That mechanism is able to rectify speakers' disfluencies without the listener noticing. This is an incredibly fast process, given that while the mechanism carries on interpreting the incoming waveform as a series of linguistic segments and suprasegmental features; it immediately starts searching the listener's mental lexicon for the appropriate lexemes. At the same time, it is ready to receive and process erroneous messages, as well. The authors have designed an experiment to learn more about that unconscious process of correction. They wanted to find out how and with what results the correction process takes place. Five instances of disfluency in nine categories (a total of 45 items) have been tested with the participation of 20 university students (studying in the faculty of arts). The results show that the time span of corrective processes depends on the type of disfluency, the context, and the listener (the reaction times of males were significantly longer than that of female subjects). The higher operational level the production error involves the more time is required for correcting it. On the basis of the analyses performed it can be assumed that the perceptual mechanism uses one and the same set of corrective operations in amending its own perceptual errors and in correcting an erroneous incoming signal.
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