Friday, March 6, 1998 at 07:33:02

I want to tell you about a unique (and annoying) filled pause I have recently (and frequently) heard. My pschologist frequently pauses to say "What's the word?" and just keeps on talking. It's obvious that she isn't looking for any specific word.   She is just filling space and giving her mind and mouth a chance to get in sync again.

- JH

Thanks for the uh, what's the word, uh, the example of idiosyncratic hesitation.   Although I haven't put it on my site yet, my dissertation research has explored these individual hesitation techniques a little.  It is clear that everyone develops very different ways to accomplish hesitation in their speech and sometimes they make use of lexicalizations which do not fit the contexts in which they are used.  One of the subjects frequently tagged her sentences with 'and that'.  Interestingly, though, I came to find out that in some English dialects (principally in Great Britain) this is common.  It might be that we sometimes 'pick up' some of these hesitations when we make contact with others from outside our speech community (either by travel or etc.) and then carry them back home to our friends' surprise.

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