Is repairing speech errors an automatic or a controlled process? Insights from the relationship between error and repair probabilities in English and Spanish
Martin, Clara D.
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Nazbanou Nozari, Clara D. Martin & Nicholas McCloskey (2019) Is repairing speech errors an automatic or a controlled process? Insights from the relationship between error and repair probabilities in English and Spanish, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34:9, 1230-1245, DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2019.1637007
Speakers can correct their speech errors, but the mechanisms behind repairs are still unclear. Some findings, such as the speed of repairs and speakers’ occasional unawareness of them, point to an automatic repair process. This paper reports a finding that challenges a purely automatic repair process. Specifically, we show that as error rate increases, so does the proportion of repairs. Twenty highly-proficient English-Spanish bilinguals described dynamic visual events in real time (e.g. “The blue bottle disappears behind the brown curtain”) in English and Spanish blocks. Both error rates and proportion of corrected errors were higher on (a) noun phrase (NP)2 vs. NP1, and (b) word1 (adjective in English and noun in Spanish) vs. word2 within the NP. These results show a consistent relationship between error and repair probabilities, disentangled from position, compatible with a model in which greater control is recruited in error-prone situations to enhance the effectiveness of repair.