Tuesday, November 10, 1998 at 10:12:34

We are...linguistics students currently researching the filled paused variation in gender and of using the word "like".  We are also looking at the media to see if their portrayal of the media is accurate between different geographical locations, specifically northern and southern california.  We read your information on the net and we would like to see if you have any extra feedback on this subject.

- SA

Unfortunately, I have not focused on 'like' very much as a filled pause.  One piece of advice I might offer in that area (which you may have already though of), however, is to note that not every 'like' constitutes a filled pause.  Stenstrom (1994) outlines a useful hierarchy of speech acts where such lexicalizations might be categorized as "appealers", "empathizers", "fillers", "frames", "stallers", or "starters".  It will be important in your study to clarify this potential ambiguity.

As for gender variation, I have been able to locate only two references on the topic.  Eakins & Eakins (1978) is a good place to start.  Vrugt & Kerkstra (1982) also looks fascinating by its abstract (I haven't yet had a chance to wade through the article:   it's in Dutch).  You may wish to browse through Sociolinguistic journals for other references.  Finally, my dissertation has some discussion of gender variation (Chapters 2 and 5, I think).

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