My five year old daughter asked me why we can't repeat the same word ad infinitum.

I have never thought about it before but she is right. Most people when given the task of saying a word, almost any word, will sooner or later get tongue tied and merge the syllables. It is not just boredom. You could bounce a ball until tired but then I guess there is a longer gap between bounces. If you reduce the time gap then we mess that up, too.

But saying a word is a simple thing and yet it is almost impossible to repeatedly say the word correctly. After 15 repetitions you start saying rubbish and need a break but it is not due to fatigue. Anyone with any thoughts?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but perhaps check out: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_satiation $\endgroup$ May 15, 2018 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ Obviously, perhaps, but it does depend on the speed - repeating a word once per minute is likely possible up until the point you need to eat, drink, or sleep. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    May 15, 2018 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ Sure the speed is a big factor, once every 10secs it works fine, you can do this with concentration and effort. When you reduce the gap to around a second or two something else happens ..the longer you repeat a word the worse it gets .. you are getting it wrong but even with concentration it is close to impossible to correct or hold onto the correct pronunciation. It is as if after a short time your brain hands over the duty of repeating this word to another part of your brain, that is not good at speech, you can hear the mess but can't fix it maybe like a stroke victim? $\endgroup$
    – Rob
    May 15, 2018 at 12:10


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