Monday, March 2, 1998 at 17:29:28

I would like to bring to your attention the use of  filled pauses on chat screens across the world. I think no study on filled pauses would be truly complete with out a closer look at this important new form of communication. I couldnot hmmm... :-x....keep silent on this matter.


Indeed, I have been getting some interesting feedback about filled pauses in chat.   I'm afraid I have not been a frequenter of chat rooms and so have not observed this phenomenon carefully.  I will have to do so in the near future.  I do have a (very) tentative theory about it, though.  When I was a college student, my writing teacher had us do 'stream-of-consiousness' writing.  I found that after a few days' practice I really could write like talking.  That is, whatever came into my head, came out on paper during my SOC sessions.  However, when my mind 'blanked' or got stuck on a word or something, my hand kept on doing something, even if just repeating what was already written or doodling.  I would not be surprised if experienced 'chatters' are exhibiting this same sort of writing state.  Does this jibe with your chat experience?

I don't experience SOC during chat rooms, but most of the time during the one on one chats I do. In chat rooms there are up to 23 people expressing ideas, sometimes there are three or four conversations going on at once. Instant Messages are just that, a instant conversation between two people. In a chat room there are others to take up the slack, during IMs there is a need for filled pauses. I find myself stuggling to find new ways to express myself with new symbols and sometimes colors to communicate. If I ever finish my B.A.(I am 42), I have thought that studying relationships that develope online would be an interesting thesis. I have obsevered and experienced relationships and personalities developing and relating the same as in any other social structure. I will send you some of the 'smileys' used in expression, I hope you can decode them.......interesting.

Thanks for the smileys:  I think they certainly must be useful to help punctuate one's speech :-)

But seriously, I do find these smileys interesting.  I think by now there must be some linguistic studies of them, although I have not read any.  I imagine that their origin and spread are similar to that of slang.  I wonder, though, if there is any similar phenomena as with hesitation in speech:  when a speaker uses FPs excessively, the hearer(s) may get quite irritated.  How about with smileys.   Are there people who use them excessively--to the irritation of their co-chatters?

I re-read the e-mail I sent you and had to laugh, I wrote in "chat". Since you are not fimilar with it (you must have a real life), I can see your confusion at my garble. I don't find them interesting either....(<--------the periods are hesitations) some are amusing.....once. Yes "chatspeak", shorthand and smileys can become irritating when overused and imagine hmmm or uh  used often with the added delay of typing. Having a screen names comes in handy when telling these chatters to shut-up.

P.S. Now if I could get the courage to tell Ted Turner to stop with the umah every other word....I would sleep better.

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