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What is an utterance?

 

Definition
 
  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.
Discussion
 

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.

Sources
 

Arnoff and Rees-Miller 2001157, 618

 

Crystal 1991 405

 

Crystal 1985 322

 

Pei and Gaynor 1954 225


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