Thursday, October 29, 1998 at 11:17:15
You mentioned how you thought perhaps language teachers should teach filled pauses in other languages...in my school this year we upgraded from 20-year old French books to modern ones, and in the new ones they seem to have many examples of nonlexicalized filled pauses in French, especially the common 'euh'. I think perhaps the fact that texts are opting for more 'natural-language' teaching is making them start teaching things like this before thought undesired when they were only attempting to teach idealistic perfectly written language.
I am working as an English teacher in Hiroshima, Japan and have seen the same gradual change in textbooks and other materials. However, change is particularly slow. It is surprising how many textbooks still do not include FPs even in chapters on invitations (FPs are a common part of refusing an invitation, e.g., "um... I'm sorry, I can't. I, uh, have to study."). I'm currently writing an article to review FP research for language teachers and (especially) materials writers so that they may incorporate this ubiquitous aspect of our speech in speaking/listening activities.
However, I should like to clarify my recommendations: I do not suggest explicit training in the use of FPs in language teaching, per se. I propose that overall language competency may be enhanced by a greater awareness of the role FPs play in spontaneous speech.
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