Wednesday, February 25, 1998 at 22:41:25

I have found that I used filled pauses when what I am thinking goes beyond the speed of my capacity to speak.  Ususally this occurs after I mis-state something using a word or idea I'm thinking ahead to instead of the one I need for the sentence I am uttering.   I find these fascinating as well, especially since I took a couple linguistic courses.

There are a couple of d.j.'s in the Detroit area who used to play an on-air game called
"Don't Say UM."   That was another experience which sparked my interest.  When I played this with my Applied Communications students it was interesting to see how difficult discussing an unfamiliar topic was without using filled pauses.  It is especially interesting to see the tangents people will form to avoid using filled pauses as they try to organize their thoughts.

- JM

"Don't say um"?  I like that.  Sounds like fun.  I might try that game with some colleagues here.  I can imagine the different ways that one avoids using a filled pause.  Probably by making tangential remarks as you mentioned, or lengthening the tail ends of their utterances while the prepare the next statement.   Or even completely changing the topic, or perhaps stepping out of role (but not of rule) to comment on the state of the game itself.  Are there any other typical strategies?  I imagine many of these might be developed into techniques for helping one develop more fluent speaking skills.

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