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dysfluency (disfluency)



Speech that is not smoothly delivered or grammatically well formed. Also spelled disfluency.

See also:


From the Latin, "impaired" + "flow"

Examples and Observations:

  • "I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be--hold hands."
    (George W. Bush on the Middle East peace process, Jan. 4, 2008)

  • "[T]he time pressure on speakers in conversation often results in dysfluencies. In extreme cases, an utterance may become almost grammatically incoherent. For example:
    No. Do you know the erm you know where the erm go over to er go over erm where the fire station is not the one that white white . . .
    Such extreme cases usually occur in extreme circumstances. Here the speaker is trying to explain to members of her family how to reach a local shopping area. Her problems are cognitive as well as syntactic. She is simultaneously building a mental map, visualizing the best route, estimating the hearer's familiarity with the area, and explaining the route."
    (D. Biber at al., Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Pearson, 2002)

  • "Among the examples [of dysfluency] are: hesitation phenomena such as repetitions, corrections, and filled pauses; sentence length, slips of the tongue, speech rate, pause length, and length of run (defined as the number of syllables between pauses). In studies by Wiese (1982; 1984), Mohle (1984), and Poulisse (1999), second language users showed more evidence of dysfluency and slower speech than first language users. . . . These observations again are not unique to multilinguals, and are found in children's speech and in adults with language and communication disorders."
    (Joel Walters, Bilingualism: The Sociopragmatic-Psycholinguistic Interface. Routledge, 2005)
Pronunciation: dis-FLU-en-see
Alternate Spellings: disfluency
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