Nouns slow down our speech

Speakers hesitate or make brief pauses filled with sounds like "uh" or "uhm" mostly before nouns. Such slow-down effects are far less frequent before verbs, as UZH researchers working together with an international team have now discovered by looking at examples from different languages. When we speak, we unconsciously pronounce some words more slowly than others, and sometimes we make brief pauses or throw in meaningless sounds like "uhm." Such slow-down effects provide key evidence on how our brains process language. They point to difficulties when planning the utterance of a specific word.