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Hesitation Phenomena in Spontaneous English Speech

Howard Maclay and Charles Osgood

This paper reports an exploratory investigation of hesitation phenomena in spontaneously spoken English.  Following a brief review of the literature bearing on such phenomena, a quantitative study of filled and unfilled pauses, repeats, and false starts in the speech of some twelve participants in a conference is described.  Analysis in terms of both individual differences and linguistic distribution is made, and some psycholinguistic implications are drawn, particularly as to the nature of encoding units and their relative uncertainty.  A distinction between non-chance statistical dependencies and all-or-nothing dependencies in linguistic methodology is made.
Maclay, H. & C. Osgood 1959 Hesitation Phenomena in Spontaneous English Speech. In Word, 15/??: 19-44.

Key points relevant to the study of filled pauses


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