Monday, March 9, 1998 at 02:21:47

I wonder if you have an opinion as to any possible corelation between hesitation phenomena and either 1) the style of learning of the speaker or 2) the degree of literacy?

As I read your <fluent> dissertation, the thought came to me that in writing we are able to edit out hesistations and thus often appear more confident there than in our normal speech.  Many people when speaking in public will rely upon scripts as such to avoid these pauses, to avoid as it were the appearance of disfluency.

I am sure this a volume of research here.

The questions then are related: if I am a visual learner, and enjoy reading over other forms of learning (storytelling, lectures) will I be less likely to resort to hesitation phenomena?  I would not have any guess myself, yet it seems likely that those who visualize their spoken communication, or at least <relate> their speech to a subvocalized stream of lexical units, will experience more of a 'flow' than those using aural learning cues.  Aural environments being theoretically more punctuated with hesitations.

Perhaps it is a foregone conclusion to test whether literacy rates affect communication, or it might even seem non-PC, but in asking this question are there inroads to a better understanding of learning styles? Optimal ones?

Are we as a linguistic group too enamored of the written text?

- JW

You suggest a fascinating idea for study.  It really expands the study of filled pauses (already an interdisciplinary field) to include models of cognition and memory.  I haven't come across any research yet along the lines you suggest, and I'm afraid I lack enough knowledge of theories of how information is stored in the brain.   However, using my own experience as a starting point I find that I am the type of person who 'mouths' the words while reading.  That suggests that I rely more on aural cues.  This then would hold with your hypothesis since my speech is definitely punctuated with more hesitations.  This might suggest some superiority in learning through the written word, yet one must note some exceptions:  the success of such oral methods as the Socratic method is undeniable.

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