Friday, 28 September 2007

Um, well, ah, if you actually, er, listen

Now this is a fascinating thing which someone emailed me with:

It's a very interesting finding, especially because it's the opposite of what you'd expect they would have found. It also makes me feel much less bad about the number of fillers I use when teaching.

It's been well known for a while that fillers are very important in Child Language Acquisition - because using them is one of the tools which allow children to extend turns and begin to take a fuller role in conversation, as well as filling the syntactic gaps in their knowledge. But it's quite astounding that our brains process and retain information which is, er, broken up by fillers more.

This is, by the way, something that might make a very good investigation topic, if you also looked at the ways in which we use fillers to support syntax, or to correct syntax, etc etc. The original research paper may or may not be found at this link, but it's an interesting and related paper even if it's not the one to which Philip Henssher is referring:

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