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disfluencies/editing expressions

From:Michael Erard <erard@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 17:09
Dear Conlangers,

I am a writer based in Austin, Texas, who is writing a popular book
for Pantheon/Random House about "verbal blundering" -- speech slips
and speech disfluencies. Since these are so prevalent in natural
languages, I wonder if any of you have done any thinking about how
these would work in your languages.

Slips of the tongue involve additions, omissions or insertions of
segments, syllables and lexical items, while speech disfluencies
typically refer to filled pauses ("uh" and "um"), repetitions (of
segments, syllables, words or phrases), and restarts.

One might argue these are mostly performance issues. However, there
are structural patterns to both slips and disfluencies. For instance,
disfluencies typically occur at the beginning of discourse and at
phrase and clause boundaries, less often in the middle of phrases or
clauses. Also, in natural languages, speech slips in a specific
language tend to congregate where that language is most complex;
e.g., in Turkish's inflectional morphology, in Hindi's phonemic
structure, etc.

At least, please send me what sound (and spelling) you've assigned
for filled pauses in your languages.

Thank you in advance. I will post a summary to the list. Before I use
any in the book, I will ask permission and check them for accuracy
before it goes to press.

About me: I write about language-related topics, as well as culture
and technology, for a variety of publications, including the New York
Times, Wired, Technology Review, and Legal Affairs. Not your ordinary
writer, I also have an MA in linguistics (1996) and a PhD in English
(2001), both from the University of Texas at Austin. The verbal
blundering book is my first.

Michael Erard


Dan Sulani <dansulani@...>
Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>