The Filled Pause Research Center is a virtual study hall broadly devoted to the investigation of various types of hesitation phenomena (e.g., filled pauses, repairs, repeats) in speech and writing. It also serves as the main distribution archive for the Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena.

Great article in Atlas Obscura about filled pauses

I was recently contacted by Dan Nosowitz, a writer for the web site Atlas Obscura, requesting an interview about filled pauses. I was pleased to accommodate and we arranged a Skype chat a few days ago. He had already written several other articles on linguistic topics (e.g., Canadian 'eh’, Regional dialects), so it was an easy chat for me. We talked about many facets of filled pauses, sound, meaning, usage, acquisition, evolutionary origins, and more.

At the end of the conversation, I asked how soon he would publish an article and he said it would probably be a week later. To my surprise, about a day and a half later I noticed via Twitter that the article was published! If only I could turn out writing at that speed…

The ums and uhs of yesteryear

Edison phonograph; taken at Vendsyssel historiske Museum (Hjørring, Denmark) in 2004 by Tomasz Sienicki.The UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive is a wonderful new* resource that's being provided for free by the University of California, Santa Barbara Library. These are digitizations of audio extracted from phonograph cylinders produced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries–in essence, the earliest audio recordings made by humans. While most of the recordings are musical in nature (probably intended to be listened to for enjoyment at the time), some contain speech and these are the ones I'm really interested in.  I've been browsing through the recordings little by little in order to get a sample of some of the earliest recordings of filled pauses and here are a few interesting ones.

Wait, what? A written text can be disfluent, too?

I recently read an article entitled, "Disfluency disrupts the confirmation bias" (Hernandez, I., & Preston J. L. (2013). Disfluency disrupts the confirmation bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 49(1), p. 178-182.) which is a rather interesting look at how confirmation bias—the tendency to give greater credibility to evidence that comports with one's already held beliefs—can be dampened by presenting information to people in a disfluent manner. I was interested in the article for obvious reasons (yay, disfluency!) and quickly added it to my Kindle for reading during my next walk to and from campus.  However, I got about one or two pages in before I realized something: The article is not about speech disfluency, but rather text disfluency.

What does "Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech" look like?

OK, this is purely for fun.  After getting all the information pages set up for the history of the Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech workshop series (here), I decided to extract the text from the proceedings (unfortunately not all, because for some workshops I only have image scans) and then created a few Wordles™ based on the text.  Here are a few results in slightly varying formats.

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