Thursday, February 19, 1998 at 15:40:13

I enjoyed your work; it's very interesting and well explained.  The "filled pause" and its relatives have long interested me.  I am a trial lawyer and have learned to inject filled pauses into my delivery.  Otherwise, I have been told, I sound too pat or polished or pushy.  Using ums and ahs makes the delivery more conversational and supposedly helps develop ethos.

- TT

Your message intrigues me greatly as you are the first person (other than actors) who has a rationale for cultivating filled pause use in rehearsed speech.  I also believe you may be on to something when you say it 'helps develop ethos'.  I sometimes feel patronized by the fluid speech of, say, the news anchor, and even feel a sense of justice to hear a moment of truly spontaneous speech by the same anchor littered with disfluency.  However, the only research I know of in this area suggests the opposite:  that listeners' irritation is positively correlated wth a speaker's pause rate. However, I think the hypothesis is worth testing and may be borne out.

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