Saturday, March 14, 1998 at 16:24:50
I take issue with this statement which you made in the feedback archives:
I argue that there are times when they fulfill the same function as filled pauses, though not
always. For example, consider the following two utterances.
(1) "Have you seen that...you know, that worthless brother of mine?"
(2) "Recently I've been playing a lot of those computer games, you know, Nintendo, Sega, and those"
I would suggest that in (1) 'you know' is a lexicalized filled pause because it adds nothing to the message or the organization of the discourse. (2) though, is less certain: 'you know' may be interpreted as a discourse-organizer marking the subsequent clause as an elaboration of the original statement.
So far, though, in Linguistics, few researchers have included lexicalized FPs in their studies. I may be among the first to attempt to do so. However, the results of my current work are not conclusive..."
Specifically, the first example *does* communicate specific meaning. The example given does not provide enough context for the reader, however, in a real world context a listener interpreting the statement from a known speaker could receive information such as: The speaker considers his/her brother "worthless" and is uncomfortable about feeling that way, or, the speaker is making an ironic statement or joke, or thirdly, the speaker is refering back to a previous conversation or understanding that is shared with the listener (whether in regard to value or to the brother or both is not evident here). Or perhaps I have too much imagination.
You're right. I'm afraid the synthesized example I gave does not sufficiently support my point because it lacks a specific context. Here is a sample of speech from my own mini-corpus of spontaneous speech of native English speakers which I hope will illustrate better why certain lexicalizations may be regarded as filled pauses (period indicates short pause, underscore indicates long pause, double slash indicates tone unit boundary and all caps indicate tonic syllable).
// so I wanna teach as long as I CAN . // as long as the lord gives me HEALTH enough _ // AND _ // I'm seventy-six years OLD // SO _ // I WANT to _ // even though I've been through the years prePARing for meeting the lord // I _ I wanna make a:s good a preparation as I CAN . //
Note the stand-alone 'AND' in the third tone unit. Grammatically, this 'and' does not fit. The preceding and the following utterances are not related by this conjunction. Furthermore, although it is not indicated in this transcription, the pitch level here is markedly different from the end of the preceding and beginning of the following tone units marking it as an independent speech element. It is apparent here that the speaker is hesitating while preparing the following utterance(s). Thus, we can classify 'and' as a lexicalized filled pause. In contrast, note that the 'SO' in the fifth tone unit is possibly acting in its usual grammatical fashion. Thus, I would not classify it as a filled pause. That is, where it is not clear, I would prefer to err in favor of the traditional interpretation.
In my research thus far, I have noted an almost-signficant correlation between these lexicalized FPs and unlexicalized FPs. My results are not conclusive on the issue since my corpus is relatively small, but the results do suggest a need for further study.
Thank you very much for pointing out this insufficiency in my previous comments. I hope this clears up my point.
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