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I don't understand the term self-priming in the following sentence:

Illustrators may have a self-priming function, helping people put words together into reasonably coherent speech.

Just for the context, illustrators are gestures we do during the conversations.

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priming + self. They prime themselves. What is not to get? – Matt E. Эллен Dec 15 '12 at 11:08
Also, you might be interested in the Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange. – Matt E. Эллен Dec 15 '12 at 11:09
Although the meaning of self-priming is obvious, I could not understand what it meant in that particular sentence, until I read Andrew's answer. Therefore I don't think this is GR. – TrevorD Aug 16 '13 at 14:36

It's a metaphor from engineering. A self-priming pump is one which doesn't need priming before it starts — that is, it can start from empty and doesn't need to be filled prior to starting to pump. It fills itself, ready to produce its output.

The gestures made in speech have a similar function of getting the brain “in gear” and ready to go, ready to produce something coherent and useful.

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