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What is an utterance?


  1. An utterance is a natural unit of speech bounded by breaths or pauses.
  2. An utterance is a complete unit of talk, bounded by the speaker's silence.

Utterance does not have a precise linguistic definition. Phonetically an utterance is a unit of speech bounded by silence. In dialogue, each turn by a speaker may be considered an utterance.


Linguists sometimes use utterance to simply refer to a unit of speech under study. The corresponding unit in written language is text.


Arnoff and Rees-Miller 2001157, 618


Crystal 1991 405


Crystal 1985 322


Pei and Gaynor 1954 225

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