In his time: A longitudinal study of disfluency in Lord Melvyn Bragg's speech
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O''Loughlin, J. (2014) In his time: A longitudinal study of disfluency in Lord Melvyn Bragg's speech, no. 53.
This study investigates the fluency changes in broadcaster Lord Melvyn Bragg (MB) over time. The literature suggests that people typically become more disfluent as they get older (Bortfeld et al., 2001; Mortensen et al., 2006). This study aims to compare MB's observed disfluency at different time points over the fifteen years of available recordings to look at the change in frequency and type of disfluency. Three time points were chosen in order to compare the effect that ageing would have on MB's speech. His disfluencies were quantified and these quantities were monitored to see if they had changed over the timespan. Speech was segmented and the resulting speech audio was edited and analysed by studying the acoustic and provided waveform displays of his speech using PRAAT. Disfluency types were annotated and specific intervals and points in the speech data were marked. The results are inconsistent with the literature and in particular in comparison to Bortfeld et al.'s (2001) research on the impact of ageing on disfluency. MB was not found to be more disfluent as he got older. It was predicted that MB would produce more filled pauses, repetitions and repairs as well as producing more words over time. The changes found over time proved to be variable, inconsistent and not significant. As this study was on a small scale, results cannot be accurately generalised to reflect the ageing effects in MB's speech. Future research would ideally study a broader sample of his speech. This study highlights the various findings and implications that the ageing process has on the fluency of a typical ageing individual.