The Covert Repair Hypothesis Prearticulatory Repair Processes in Normal and Stuttered Disfluencies Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1993
The Covert Repair Hypothesis
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Albert Postma
    The Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information University of Nijmegen and Department of Psychonomics University of Utrecht Netherlands
  • Herman Kolk
    The Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information University of Nijmegen Netherlands
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to A. Postma, PhD, Department of Psychonomics, University of Utrecht, PO Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1993
The Covert Repair Hypothesis
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1993, Vol. 36, 472-487. doi:10.1044/jshr.3603.472
History: Received March 30, 1992 , Accepted December 7, 1992
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1993, Vol. 36, 472-487. doi:10.1044/jshr.3603.472
History: Received March 30, 1992; Accepted December 7, 1992

Self-repairing of speech errors demonstrates that speakers possess a monitoring device with which they verify the correctness of the speech flow. There is substantial evidence that this speech monitor not only comprises an auditory component (i.e., hearing one’s own speech), but also an internal part: inspection of the speech program prior to its motoric execution. Errors thus may be detected before they are actually articulated. In the covert repair hypothesis of disfluency, this internal error detection possibility has been extended with an internal correction counterpart. Basically, the covert repair hypothesis contends that disfluencies reflect the interfering side-effects of covert, prearticulatory repairing of speech programming errors on the ongoing speech. Internally detecting and correcting an error obstructs the concurrent articulation in such manner that a disfluent speech event will result. Further, it is shown how, by combining a small number of typical overt self-repair features such as interrupting after error detection, retracing in an utterance, and marking the correction with editing terms, one can parsimoniously account for the specific forms disfluencies are known to take. This reasoning is argued to apply to both normal and stuttered disfluency. With respect to the crucial question concerning what makes stuttering speakers so greatly disfluent, it is hypothesized that their abilities to generate error-free speech programs are disordered. Hence, abundant stuttering derives from the need to repeatedly repair one’s speech programs before their speech motor execution.

Acknowledgments
We thank Peter Alfonso, Wouter Hulstijn, Pim Levelt, and Ar Thomassen for their many useful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript, and an anonymous reviewer for her/his advice regarding the current version.
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