Wednesday, March 11, 1998 at 11:10:35
Fascinating subject. I'm interested mainly becuase I recognize this habit in my own speech. Unfortunately, being aware of it seems to cause it to occur more often. I have this little pop-up messages in my brain that say: Stop doing that! Then I use a filler for the pause that just created in my speech pattern. I also have the habit of ending my sentences with "so ----" I'm not sure if this is considered a filler or not. I believe at times when I say this I'm trying to give my brain a chance to catch up with my mouth and perhaps I'm not truly finished with what I had started to say. Anyway, um, I continue to, uh, follow your future discussions on the subject, so -------- I'll be paying a lot more attention to my listening to see how much it comes up in other people's speech patterns. Thanks, uh, it's been fun!
I have the same habit of tagging the end of a stretch of discourse with "(and) so...". Technically, it may be viewed as a filled pause, one which suggests that we intend to continue but haven't mentally prepared the continuation. However, I'm beginning to wonder if (in my speech at least) it is an attempt to conclude my turn more smoothly. I think the mental chains on which my speech is based sometimes end rather abruptly without all loose ends tied off. So, instead of just being silent when the speech is finished I now tend to give the extra "and so..." which tapers into silence and which perhaps implies to the listener "and the rest is common sense..." What do you think? Does this explanation fit you as well?
In answer to your question, yes, it does seem to fit my speech pattern also. There are times, though, when I feel I need more time to clear up those loose ends. However, by adding the "and so...." it turns the conversation over to the other party. I often notice that my brain is still busy trying to accomplish its task while I'm trying to listen to the other person's answer. That's one reason why I feel it's a habit I'd like to break myself of, perhaps by finding another way to "fill the pause" that would give me time to finish my thought process and finish my sentence so that I will truly hear what the other person is communicating to me. Somehow I just can't see myself going with "well, you know, it's like, uh, you know, uh....."
I was a court reporter in superior court for 23 years. It was a rare but wonderful experience to have an attorney and/or a witness in the courtroom who truly understood the power of the spoken word, and yes, the "filled pause" also. Which may be another reason I'm so aware of my "and so's", for one of the great points of their speech was they finished their sentences completely before turning it over. The other asset they had was allowing the other person to fully finish their sentence (even if they did end with "and so..." or "well, you know....") before they began speaking again. It makes for an entirely different sort of communication than our average casual conversation where so many of us tend to sort of "jump in" while the other person is still talking. Of course the majority of witnesses were nervous about being on the stand so they tended to use many filled or unfilled pauses. That at times gave great advantage to an attorney who would point them out and use that to make them feel even more self-concious, thereby making it appear to a jury that they were unsure of themselves or what they were saying when it was more a case of nerves than anything else.
At any rate, this is a very interesting bit of research you're doing. I'll continue to check in for further developments and uh, you know, all that, so.........
P.S. I must confess that I have considered going to a speech therapist simply because I felt there was something wrong with my ability to communicate. It's nice to know I'm not alone and perhaps not even defective!
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