Saturday, March 7, 1998 at 11:16:29
Very very interesting. I had never thought about the concept before, and it reminded me of something I came across several years ago. A woman I met who was from Malaysia would occasionally use the nonsense syllable "la" at the end of a sentence. It is aparrently in common usage where she was from. From my take on it, it serves mainly as a rythmic balancer (?). Her friends, also from Malaysia thought it was funny that she continued to use it even when speaking English.
I realize its not a filled pause, but I wondered if you were familiar with this "verbal phenomenon."
It seems that carrying over speech production habits in one's native language to a second language is not uncommon. I teach English in Japan where my students frequently fill their pauses with 'e-to' and 'ano-' (common Japanese fillers). Since I have lived in Japan for many years and speak Japanese I have become rather desensitized to them, allowing my students to continue the habit. However, since beginning this research I've come to realize that my students should be encouraged to use English pause fillers as much as they should be encouraged to use good English grammar, etc. In theory at least, when one uses a native language pause filler while speaking in a second language to native speakers of the second language, the fillers may be fodder for miscommunication or even irritation.
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