Prosodic structure is known to influence utterance production in numerous ways, but the influence of repetition of metrical pattern on utterance production has not been thoroughly investigated. It was hypothesized that metrical regularity would speed utterance production and reduce the occurrence of speech errors. Productions of sequences of four trisyllabic nonwords were compared between two conditions: a metrically regular condition with a repeating strong-weak-weak pattern, and a metrically irregular condition that lacked a repeating prominence pattern. Utterance durations were slower in the irregular condition, more hesitations occurred, and more sequencing errors were made. These findings are significant in that they are not accommodated by serial models of speech production. It is argued that the effects of metrical regularity are due to interference between words in an utterance plan, and that this interference arises from constraints on the dynamics of word form representations in the planning of speech.
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