Dissecting Speech Errors: A Psycholinguistics Study of Joe Biden’s Disfluent Speech


  • Hajra Naeem Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar
  • Sabeen Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar https://orcid.org/0009-0003-2719-1126
  • Javeria Haroon National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad


Speech errors occur in nearly everyone's speech, especially when speaking in front of a large audience and under the spotlight. A thorough analysis of these speech errors in a person's language especially that of a public figure like Joe Biden gives us insight into the mechanisms that underlie language processing and production. The present study employs the mixed-method approach to psycholinguistically examine President Biden's speech and identify the types of errors by using the Clark and Clark (1977) theory as the research framework. The researcher transcribed several videos from YouTube to collect data for said analysis. In addition, the current study determines which speech errors have the highest and lowest occurrence rate in President Joe Biden's spoken language. Lastly, this research provides the causes for hesitation and speech errors in President Biden's speech by utilizing Clark and Clark and Bortfeld et al.'s theories as a framework. The research found the occurrence of each speech error to be as follows (high to low): filled pauses repeats, corrections, unretraced false starts, retraced false starts, and silent pauses. The author found that the potential causes for errors in speech are cognitive reasons, social reasons, situational anxiety, demographic factors, and speaking style. The paper underscores the intricate relationship between linguistic imperfections and political communication, offering a nuanced perspective on the challenges of public representation. The findings can inform strategies to improve political leaders' communication authenticity and effectiveness in an era of pervasive media coverage and public scrutiny.

Keywords: Disfluency, Psycholinguistics, Political communication, Speech error(s).


Author Biographies

Hajra Naeem, Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar

Ms. Hajra Naeem is a student of BS English linguistics at the Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar.

Sabeen, Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar

Ms. Sabeen is a dedicated linguistics lecturer at the Institute of Management Sciences in Peshawar, nearing completion of her Ph.D in linguistics. 

Javeria Haroon, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad

Ms. Javeria Haroon is an Assistant Professor in English Linguistics at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.