Thursday, February 19, 1998 at 15:40:13
I enjoyed your work; it's very interesting and well explained. The "filled pause" and its relatives have long interested me. I am a trial lawyer and have learned to inject filled pauses into my delivery. Otherwise, I have been told, I sound too pat or polished or pushy. Using ums and ahs makes the delivery more conversational and supposedly helps develop ethos.
Your message intrigues me greatly as you are the first person (other than actors) who has a rationale for cultivating filled pause use in rehearsed speech. I also believe you may be on to something when you say it 'helps develop ethos'. I sometimes feel patronized by the fluid speech of, say, the news anchor, and even feel a sense of justice to hear a moment of truly spontaneous speech by the same anchor littered with disfluency. However, the only research I know of in this area suggests the opposite: that listeners' irritation is positively correlated wth a speaker's pause rate. However, I think the hypothesis is worth testing and may be borne out.
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