Sunday, March 15, 1998 at 12:33:46

Concerned speakers try hard to eliminate filled pauses yet use other ways of taking up time. example:

speaker one - blah blah blah
speaker two - " I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion, one hundred percent, but let me continue with a different angle...."

the second speaker could easily have started his sentence without the words above...he is stalling for time while his brain is formulating another sentence. It only took a second to say the 'pat' reply, but a lot of information can be assembled in that time.

instead of filled pauses one needs to be aware of "filled stalling phrases"

- JW

You make a very good point.  Speaker two is apparently stalling for time (although the 'pat' reply might also be interpreted--from a sociolinguistic point of view--as merely conversational courtesy before changing the topic).  This is one technique that a good speaker develops to avoid using a possibly distractive unlexicalized FP.  Certainly those who wish to improve their speech skills would do well to master such 'stalling phrases'.

However, considering the potential communicative value of unlexicalized FPs in different situations I would argue that what is really necessary to develop good skills is to learn to master the filled pause--both lexicalized and unlexicalized--and know how and when to use them to achieve a variety of purposes and effects in speaking.

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