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The incidence of filled pauses in relation to part of speech

Mary Cook

Maclay and Osgood's theory about filled pauses (FP's) is described and evidence related to it is summarized.  Maclay and Osgood's own evidence--that FP's occur more often before certain types of word than before others--is criticised and suggestions made for an improved procedure.  Data obtained by this improved procedure does not show the same tendency as Maclay and Osgood's, i.e., filled pauses occur as often before nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives as before other parts of speech.   However it is also found that FP's occur more often than would be expected by chance before pronouns, but less often before nouns, verbs and adverbs.  Some details of individual differences are presented.  The significance of these findings is discussed in the light of Maclay and Osgood's hypothesis.
Cook, M. 1971 The incidence of filled pauses in relation to part of speech. In Language & Speech 14/2: 135-139.

Key points relevant to the study of filled pauses


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