Filled Pause
Research Center

Filled Pause
Research Center

Filled Pause
Research Center

Investigating 'um' and 'uh' and other hesitation phenomena

Investigating 'um' and 'uh' and other hesitation phenomena

Investigating 'um' and 'uh' and other hesitation phenomena

This site is devoted to disseminating information about filled pauses and related phenomena in communication. Here, you can find academic information about these topics, musings on this and sundry other things as well as links to various resources that I've created that may elucidate why, how, and when people say 'um'.


News about the FPRC, research efforts, and other relevant stuff


Thoughts about hesitation phenomena and related topics


Info about and access to the Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena


A bibliography of related research articles and resources


Info about the Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech workshops

Disfluencies in face-to-face versus video-mediated communication

There is some research to show that the use of filled pauses is different in face-to-face versus telephone conversations (cf., high rate of FPs in Switchboard versus low rate in Santa Barbara Corpus). In particular, speakers tend to use more filled pauses on the telephone. It has been hypothesized that the reason for this is that because the visual element is lost, speakers are more apt to try to manage conversational turns through additional vocal elements and thus, they might use filled pauses more often to "hold" their conversational turn. (Leaving aside the debatable question of whether speakers actually use filled pauses in that way or not.) A good question to ask now that video conferencing is becoming a ubiquitous form of communication is whether the use of disfluencies in video-mediated communication differ from those in regular face-to-face communication....

Virtual trip 2 Sweden 4 NLP4CALL

Well, the Covid-19 situation continues, and conference organizers are gradually adapting and finding ways to hold productive events online. I participated in another even this past week which was quite well-run and an interesting conference, to boot. Though unfortunately, I didn't give any presentation of my own. The event was the Swedish Language Technology Conference (SLTC) with a workshop on the side called Natural Language Processing for Computer-assisted Language Learning (NLP4CALL). While the SLTC event was fairly interesting, my main focus was NLP4CALL. All the presentations were very interesting, but not directly about filled pauses or hesitation phenomena. Yet, they inspired some ideas of my own, which is what a good conference should do....

How do actors simulate disfluency?

A dramatic actor's job is to present scripted material in a manner that appears to the audience as a convincing spontaneous scene. That is, the audience should feel like they are watching the unfolding of unrehearsed speech in real time. (Note that this is leaving out certain types of formulaic acting such as might be seen in a Shakespeare play). In order to be successful, what cognitive process is the actor actually going through? The processes cannot be identical to the processes they themselves would be undertaking when engaged in actual spontaneous speech off the stage (no matter how similar in context to something they portray on stage)....

Recently added bibliography items

Formant-based technique for automatic filled-pause detection in spontaneous spoken english
Audhkhasi, Kartik and Kandhway, Kundan and Deshmukh, Om. D. and Verma, Ashish
Emotion recognition in spontaneous and acted dialogues
Tian, Leimin and Moore, Johanna D. and Lai, Catherine
Variability in the pronunciation of non-native English the: Effects of frequency and disfluencies
Schertz, Jessamyn and Ernestus, Mirjam
The role of inhibition in the production of disfluencies
Engelhardt, Paul E. and Corley, Martin and Nigg, Joel T. and Ferreira, Fernanda
Pauses and Hesitations in Drama Texts
Abbas, Nawal Fadhil and Jawad, Ru'aa Tariq and Muhi, Maysoon Tahir

View the whole FPRC bibliography list here.