Tuesday, March 10, 1998 at 03:00:48
I stumbled on your website and really found it fascinating. My degree (earned many years ago) is in speech and theatre. While I'm a writer now, I still have an interest in the spoken word. My comment has to do with regionalism. I suspect that in certain parts of the country there are "localisms" as far as filled pauses are concerned. For example, I've been around a number of folks from western Pennsylvania who pepper their speech with "and that." They use it the same way people in my area interject "you know?" Is it just my imagination or are there filled pauses that are unique to different regions, different socio-economic groups, et cetera?
It is clear that there are idiosyncratic differences in filled pause usage. I have a colleague who sometimes tags her sentences with 'and that'. I've also heard from my dissertation adviser that this filler is common in some regions of England (particularly Birmingham). However, I haven't come across any formal study yet of these different localizations of filled pauses nor with respect to economic groups (which might be politically charged?). However my intuition suggests that one would find several differences among all these groups--both geographical and socio-econonomic.
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