People track when talkers say 'uh' to predict what comes next

Speakers tend to say ‘uh’ before uncommon words (‘uh… automobile’) rather than common words (‘car’). In a new eye-tracking study, researchers show that listeners use this information to predict an uncommon word upon hearing ‘uh.’ Moreover, when an ‘atypical’ speaker says ‘uh’ before common words (‘uh… car’), listeners learn to predict common words after ‘uh’ — but only with a native speaker.

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