Friday, March 13, 1998 at 19:21:48

I first noticed this subject when I used to record the radio show of a local radio psychologist, Dr. Toni Grant. She used the "um", as i recaled, and I started noticing this. I started listening to her "um's", and was surprised at the quantity of them. I felt, unscientifically, that her "um's" were more important than the advice she gave her talk show callers.  I didn't know why I felt that.   It was just an instinctive thing on my part. She hasn't been on the radio for awhile, and I haven't thought much about "um's" and things like that -- until I came across your "Cool" site. It's nice to see that I was not the only person around who paid attention to "what was 'not' said".

- RG

I'm not sure if FPs can be regarded as more important than the message itself, but it is apparent that FPs sometimes communicate additional information to listeners--sometimes in contrast to the message itself!  It is often presumed that overly hesitant speech by, say, a witness in court, is evidence of insincerity.   Alternately, sometimes we show a lot of hesitation in order to pretend that we have more knowledge than we really do.  For example:

Teacher: Johnny, who was president of the U.S at the beginning of World War II?
Johnny:  uh... um, let's see, uh that was...Nixon?

Since I haven't heard Dr. Grant speak before I can't judge what might be the meaning of her FPs.  What do you think?

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