Wednesday, March 11, 1998 at 06:07:07

Fascinating stuff.  Just stumbled on this site, but will visit again.   Uhm...have you noticed a spilover from the filled pause phenomen into written discourse?  some of my students have actually--I teach at a community college--used uhms and ahs in their essays!

- CS

I'm getting some feedback from seasoned internet chatters who say they or others they know frequently fill their pauses during chat sessions.  You can read about these interesting cases in the Feedback Archives at FPRC as I gradually excerpt the messages there.  It is apparent that these chatters reach a state in which their typing is a 'stream-of-consciousness' wherein their fingers (rather than their mouths) need to do something during moments of hesitation.  However, I'm curious about someone who uses a FP in writing when time is not a factor.  Do your students use these FPs for effect (e.g., to indicate doubt/uncertainty or possibly even insincerity)?   Or do you mean that they write as if they were transcribing their own speech?

As far as I can determine, my students--and admitedly, there are only a few who do this--who use the pause in their writing come from an oral tradition. Many are the first ones in their fmilies to have completed high school. I think that they are transcribing speech rather than composing written discourse. Perhaps, when I get a good example of such a paper I can send you a copy. I should mention that what use most often is either the word "well" or "like."  Sometimes, there is, inexplicably, a blank space,    like so.

If you do happen across such a writing sample I would love to have a copy of it, if possible.  A lot may be revealed about the cognitive aspects of speech production.

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