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Filler words (I mean, you know, like, uh, um) are commonly used in spoken conversation. The authors analyzed these five filler words from transcripts recorded by a device called the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), which sampled participants' language use in daily conversations over several days. By examining filler words from 263 transcriptions of natural language from five separate studies, the current research sought to clarify the psychometric properties of filler words. An exploratory factor analysis extracted two factors from the five filler words: filled pauses (uh, um) and discourse markers (I mean, you know, like). Overall, filled pauses were used at comparable rates across genders and ages. Discourse markers, however, were more common among women, younger participants, and more conscientious people. These findings suggest that filler word use can be considered a potential social and personality marker.
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Journal of Language and Social
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0261927X14526993
March 2014
2014 33: 328 originally published online 27Journal of Language and Social Psychology
Charlyn M. Laserna, Yi-Tai Seih and James W. Pennebaker
Gender, and Personality
: Filler Word Use as a Function of Age,You Know . . . Who Like Says Um
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Journal of Language and Social Psychology
2014, Vol. 33(3) 328 –338
© 2014 SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0261927X14526993
Short Research Reports
Um . . . Who Like Says You
Know: Filler Word Use as a
Function of Age, Gender, and
Charlyn M. Laserna1, Yi-Tai Seih1,
and James W. Pennebaker1
Filler words (I mean, you know, like, uh, um) are commonly used in spoken conversation.
The authors analyzed these five filler words from transcripts recorded by a device
called the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), which sampled participants’
language use in daily conversations over several days. By examining filler words
from 263 transcriptions of natural language from five separate studies, the current
research sought to clarify the psychometric properties of filler words. An exploratory
factor analysis extracted two factors from the five filler words: filled pauses (uh,
um) and discourse markers (I mean, you know, like). Overall, filled pauses were used
at comparable rates across genders and ages. Discourse markers, however, were
more common among women, younger participants, and more conscientious people.
These findings suggest that filler word use can be considered a potential social and
personality marker.
filler word, filled pause, discourse marker, LIWC, EAR
The way we use language in natural spoken conversation is revealing. For instance,
certain aspects of language such as dialects and colloquialisms can be used to deter-
mine where a person was raised. How someone speaks can also indicate whether the
listener is a friend or a stranger. Language may even reveal characteristics such as
1The University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA
Corresponding Author:
Yi-Tai Seih, Department of Psychology, University of Texas, 1 University Place, 108 East Dean Keeton,
Austin, TX 78712, USA.
526993JLSXXX10.1177/0261927X14526993Laserna et al.
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Laserna et al. 329
gender, age, and personality. One widely used but often overlooked feature of lan-
guage are filler words, which are speech irregularities used in spoken conversation and
commonly regarded as superfluous language spoken by careless speakers (Strassel,
2004). Surprisingly little is known about whether filler words have psychological
implications with regard to communication. The current study examines filled pauses
and discourse markers, two primary categories of filler words. Unlike traditional lin-
guistic research, which investigates how filler words are used, we examined individual
differences to determine who is using these filler words when they converse. To set the
stage for our research, we review filled pauses and discourse markers in language use.
Filled pauses are short utterances commonly used in spontaneous speech (Brennan
& Williams, 1995; Swerts, 1998), uh and um being two of the most frequently used
filled pauses within the English language (Strassel, 2004). In verbal communication,
filled pauses are hypothesized to either act as an unconscious sign of speech disflu-
ency or serve as a signal sent by speakers to convey a certain message. The content of
this message varies and may inform listeners that the speaker needs a pause to collect
his or her thoughts (Fox Tree, 2007) or block the listener from taking the speaker’s
turn away (Maclay & Osgood, 1959). The use of filled pauses tends to increase when
a speaker is faced with challenging choices (Christenfeld, 1994), yet at the same time,
listeners view speakers as less anxious when the speakers use filled pauses (Christenfeld,
1995). Listeners also tend to view filled pauses as an indication that speakers are
unsure about what is being said, suggesting that filled pauses may be a more deliberate
signal sent from the speaker (Brennan & Williams, 1995; Fox Tree, 2007). In either
theory, filled pauses appear to be associated with the processing of complex thoughts.
Since filled pauses have a linguistic effect on spontaneous speech, is this effect
influenced by any variables? In a study performed by Bortfeld, Leon, Bloom, Schober,
and Brennan (2001) where transcriptions of conversation pairs were analyzed, an
increase in the use of uh and um in addition to other disfluency rates were associated
with being older, discussing unfamiliar domains, and taking on a directive role during
conversation. Another study by Tottie (2011) analyzed the frequency of uh and um in
two subcorpora from the British National Corpus that consists of transcribed tele-
phone, face-to-face, and interview conversations. The study discovered that older
people, males, and those with higher levels of education used more filled pauses in
speech than younger people, females, and individuals with lower levels of education.
In a sense, filled pauses may act as markers that identify speakers’ gender, age, and
socioeconomic status.
Unlike filled pauses, discourse markers are short phrases that do not contain any
grammatical information yet are prevalent in natural speech (Fox Tree & Schrock,
2002; Fuller, 2003; Matei, 2011; Strassel, 2004). Although they do not serve a gram-
matical purpose, both laypeople and researchers alike perceive discourse markers as
purposeful signals to a listener rather than as mere signs of disfluency (Fox Tree,
2007). They are generally proposed to act as transitions between different sections of
conversation (Clark, 1996), but discourse marker use seems to heavily depend on the
specific discourse marker. Often, the actual basic meanings of the words that consti-
tute a discourse marker determine its function. For example, the phrase I mean serves
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330 Journal of Language and Social Psychology 33(3)
as an indication that a speaker is planning to modify what is said, and you know is used
when the speaker is asking a listener to make inferences about the conversation (e.g.,
Fox Tree, 2007). Other research suggests that another purpose of you know is to con-
firm the understanding of a listener (Erman, 2001). The purpose of the discourse
marker like is more ambiguous, but some studies suggest that speakers use it as a
hedge when they do not want to fully commit to what they say (Fuller, 2003; Sharifian
& Malcolm, 2003). However, Liu and Fox Tree (2012) have countered the suggestion
that like acts as a hedge by showing that this discourse marker exhibits different pat-
terns from other hedges and likely has its own unique function.
Filled pauses and discourse markers are considered to be two categories of filler
words. If the use of filled pauses is affected by certain demographic variables, is the
use of discourse markers also affected by similar variables? A study has examined the
frequencies of discourse markers like and you know with the MICASE corpus (Schleef,
2005). This corpus contains 68 people (18 instructors and 50 students) and consists of
8 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars from an equal number of male and female
instructors. The results showed that female students used the discourse marker like
more than male students. In addition, students were more likely to use like than profes-
sors. Since professors are generally older than students, this finding concerning con-
versational roles may suggest that age affects discourse marker use.
Although previous research has described the underlying meanings and functions
of the two types of filler words, some limitations still exist in current literature. For
instance, past research examined discourse markers and filled pauses within one study
and discovered differences between these two categories (e.g., Fox Tree, 2006; Fox
Tree, Mayer, & Betts, 2011), but little research has been conducted on exploring the
personalities of the people who tend to use filler words. Although Mairesse and Walker
(2008) have shown that it is possible to estimate personality by examining certain
language parameters such as filled pauses (e.g., I mean, err, you know), their personal-
ity results were generated by human judges instead of original speakers and did not
show any direct correlation with filler words.
Personality traits can be assessed by self-report measures or judges’ ratings, but
little research examines the correlation between self-report personality traits and filler
words. It may be worthwhile to determine if self-reported personality is comparable to
assessed personality deduced from judges’ ratings on the use of filler words. In addi-
tion, if filler words are found to be reliable personality markers, further research using
self-report personality measures may be able to use filler word frequency to quickly
approximate personality traits in participants. Overall, the purpose of the current
research was to investigate the psychometric properties of filler words and revisit the
relationships between filler words, demographic variables, and personality traits.
The current research aimed to investigate how the frequency of filled pauses and
discourse markers used in the English language varies with two basic demographic
variables (gender and age) and personality traits. The present study focused on three
common discourse markers in the English language (I mean, you know, and like) and
two filled pauses (uh and um). The psychometric properties of these five filler words
and two categories were examined. Because most past research on filler words has
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Laserna et al. 331
Table 1. The Descriptions of Transcriptions From Each Study for Analysis.
Number of
female Age (SD)
Word count
(SD) Days Description
Mehl and
13 62 21.4 (3.50) 6,750 (2,784) 10 Analysis of participants’
reactions to September 11,
Mehl and
50 54 19.0 (1.31) 1,007 (590) 4 A study on patterns in the
natural language of college
and Beevers
27 63 32.5 (13.8) 4,066 (2,950) 4 An examination of linguistic
indicators of negative social
functioning with depressive
Fellows (2009) 76 51 35.2 (5.88) 4,786 (4,469) 1 A study about how preschool-
aged children and parents
use emotion language
Gosling, and
97 47 18.7 (0.91) 995 (526) 2 A study that examined
personality traits by using
natural language
Note. The average word count for each participant was 2,692, and the total word count from the participants was
been based on experimental data (Tottie, 2011), the present study focused on transcrip-
tions that were transcribed from daily conversations recorded by Electronically
Activated Recorders (EARs). The EAR is an electronic device designed for sampling
natural spoken conversation during daily activities (Mehl, Pennebaker, Crow, Dabbs,
& Price, 2001). By using the EAR, the present study could examine filler words within
natural, extended interactions over the course of several days.
The transcriptions of 263 participants (137 females) were included in the current study.
The participants of the transcribed conversations ranged in age from 17 to 69 years
(M = 25.1, SD = 9.38). The 263 participants were from five studies whose detailed
information is shown in Table 1.
EAR Corpus and Coding
This study used a corpus of transcriptions obtained through the EAR, which is a device
programmed to automatically take audio recordings after set intervals of time (Mehl et
al., 2001). The EAR was worn by participants for a period of 2 to 3 days while they
went about their daily lives, giving the EAR the ability to collect truly spontaneous
conversation. Any clearly audible conversations between participants and the listener
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332 Journal of Language and Social Psychology 33(3)
were then transcribed. Those performing the transcribing were instructed to not omit
filled pauses and discourse markers.
The present study used the computerized text analysis program Linguistic Inquiry and
Word Count (Pennebaker, Booth, & Francis, 2007) to calculate the rates of filled
pauses and discourse markers used within each transcription as well as the total num-
ber of words spoken by an individual during a conversation. These calculations were
then used to determine the proportion of conversation devoted to filled pauses and
discourse markers. The proportions for each age and gender were then statistically
analyzed and compared.
Three of the transcription sets were from studies where participants’ personalities
were determined using the Big Five Inventory (Fellows, 2009; Mehl & Pennebaker,
2003a; Mehl & Pennebaker, 2003b). One study used the Ten-Item Personality Scale on
participants (Baddeley et al., 2013), and one study used the NEO Personality Inventory
on participants (Mehl et al., 2006). Since these three different versions of personality
scales were highly related to each other (Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann, 2003), all per-
sonality scores were standardized for the current study and examined according to the
Big Five personality traits. Eleven participants did not complete any personality mea-
sure, resulting in a total of 252 participants included in personality analysis.
The current study sought to examine three aspects of filler words. First, the psycho-
metric properties of the five filler words were examined to clarify the associations
between filler words. Second, filled pauses and discourse markers were correlated
with age and gender. Third, the two types of filler words were examined according to
personality traits.
Each of the five filler words was analyzed by its base rates, which are presented in
Table 2. A one-way within-subjects analysis of variance showed that filler word rates
were used at significantly different rates, F(4, 1,048) = 141.8, p < .001. The least sig-
nificant difference post hoc comparison indicated that participants used like more than
the other four filler words included in the study (ps < .001). Correlation analysis was
performed to determine any associations between filler words. As shown in Table 2, uh
was not related to the discourse markers I mean, you know, and like, implying that the
underlying mechanism behind certain filler words might have different concepts. The
correlations between gender, age, and each filler word are also reported in Table 2 as
additional information.
To understand the structure of the filler words, we employed an exploratory factor
analysis with the five filler words. A principal component method with a varimax rota-
tion was used. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy was signifi-
cant (Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin = .65, p < .001), indicating that these five filler words were
factorable. The scree plot suggested two factors, and the two factors together accounted
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Laserna et al. 333
for 60.8% of the total variance. The factor loading matrix is shown in Table 2. The first
extracted factor included the discourse markers I mean, you know, and like, whereas
the second extracted factor included the filled pause uh and um, supporting past theo-
ries of filled pauses.
Thus, the first factor referred to discourse markers, and the second factor referred
to filled pauses. According to the findings of our factor analysis, the rates of I mean,
you know, and like were summed to be the rate of discourse markers (M = 1.43; SD =
1.40), and the rates of uh and um were summed to be the rate of filled pauses (M =
0.64; SD = 0.63). Importantly, the rates of filled pauses and discourse markers were
positively correlated with each other (r = .26, p < .001), strengthening the idea that
both filled pauses and discourse markers belong within the same category. These two
categories were used in the following analyses.
The rate of discourse markers was positively associated with gender (male = 1,
female = 2; r = .20, p < .01) but negatively associated with age (r = −.50, p < .001),
suggesting that female and young participants were more likely to use discourse mark-
ers. On the contrary, the rate of filled pauses was not associated with gender (r = −.04,
p = .50) but associated with age (r = −.12, p = .05).
With these correlational findings, we became curious about the developmental
trend of these two types of filler words. We divided participants into four categories:
early college (17-19), late college (20-22), early adulthood (23-34), and adulthood (35
and older). Two 2 (gender) × 4 (age categories) between-subjects analyses of variance
were conducted separately on the two categories of filler words. The mean rates are
presented in Figure 1. With regard to discourse markers, there was a significant inter-
action effect between gender and age, F(3, 255) = 4.08, p < .01. The least significant
difference post hoc comparisons indicated that females used more discourse markers
than males in early and late college (ps < .001). The main effect on gender was signifi-
cant, F(1, 255) = 8.71, p < .01, and so was the main effect on age, F(3, 255) = 45.2,
p < .001. On the contrary, the interaction effect and the main effect of gender on filled
pause rates were not significant. Only the main effect on age on filled pause rates was
significant, F(3, 255) = 2.67, p = .05. Overall, the use of discourse markers and filled
pauses displayed a developmental trend.
Last, to examine the relationship between filler word use and personality, we cor-
related personality scores with the rates of discourse markers and filled pauses while
Table 2. Basic Psychometric Properties, Correlations on Gender and Age, and Component
Loadings for the Five Filler Words.
Mean (SD) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Gender Age Factor 1 Factor 2
(1) I mean 0.12 (0.18) −.05 −.24*** .67 .18
(2) you know 0.18 (0.28) −.26*** — −.16** −.11 .74 .10
(3) like 1.13 (1.17) −.32*** .48*** — −.19*** −.54*** .80 −.13
(4) uh 0.35 (0.42) −.03 .05 .05 −.15* −.01 −.13 .89
(5) um 0.29 (0.40) −.19** .22*** .36*** .21*** — −.09 −.21*** .45 .60
Note. Gender: Male = 1; Female = 2. Factor 1 is discourse markers, whereas Factor 2 is filled pauses.
***p < .001. **p < .01. *p < .05.
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334 Journal of Language and Social Psychology 33(3)
controlling for gender and age (df = 248). Only conscientiousness was found to be
related to discourse markers (r = .14, p = .03), which could, in theory, be attributed to
a Type I error given the number of correlations tested. None of the Big Five personal-
ity traits were related to the use of filled pauses.
Figure 1. Mean rates of discourse markers and filled pauses by gender and age per person.
Note. The sample size was 123 for early college, 36 for late college, 59 for early adulthood, and 45 for
adulthood. The discourse marker category included I mean, you know, and like. The filled pause category
included uh and um.
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Laserna et al. 335
Past research has mainly discussed filled pauses and discourse markers separately and
neglected to examine the relation between these two types of filler words. The current
research sought to look at a bigger picture and analyze filled pauses and discourse
markers in relation to one another. There were several interesting findings regarding
the psychometric properties of the filler words in this study. First, two factors were
extracted from our factor analysis and were found to be related to each other. This
finding suggests that the use of filled pauses and discourse markers is not identical
despite both categories having been discussed together as filler words (e.g., Strassel,
2004). In addition to the factor analysis, the use of filled pauses was found to be asso-
ciated with age but not with gender, whereas the use of discourse markers was found
to be associated with both gender and age. This suggests that people who were young,
female, or both young and female are more likely to use discourse markers. This result
supports previous findings regarding the use of the discourse marker like (Schleef,
2005). Finally, the use of discourse markers was associated with conscientiousness,
indicating that discourse markers can potentially serve as personality markers.
The present research has practical significance because it has shown that filler
words can serve as markers for age and gender. Our results extended previous research
by demonstrating a developmental trend that indicates that the gender effect on the use
of discourse markers only emerges during early and late college. As people become
older, the gender effect disappears. This trend may be indicative of a normative life
transition into adult roles, such as when one graduates from college and enters a job
market. A career role change may be the possible factor that leads people to change
their use of filler words.
What type of people are more likely to use discourse markers or filled pauses? In
our correlational results, conscientious people used more discourse markers. The pos-
sible explanation for this association is that conscientious people are generally more
thoughtful and aware of themselves and their surroundings. When having conversa-
tions with listeners, conscientious people use discourse markers, such as I mean and
you know, to imply their desire to share or rephrase opinions to recipients. Thus, it is
expected that the use of discourse markers may be used to measure the degree to which
people have thoughts to express. As for filled pauses, their use has been considered to
be a reflection of anxiety (e.g., Christenfeld & Creager, 1996; Scherer & Scherer,
1981). However, our measure of neuroticism was not related to the use of filled pauses
in this research. The claim that speaker anxiety is related to the use of filled pauses
should be more carefully examined in future research.
Previous research has documented filler words as markers of people’s psychologi-
cal states (Erman, 2001; Fuller, 2003). In the current study, we not only clarified the
psychometric structure of the two types of filler words but also extended the work to
personality traits. When people first meet people, they usually approximate strangers’
personalities and base their opinions on what is said and how they say it. From a meth-
odological standpoint, the use of discourse markers can provide a quick behavioral
measure of personality traits. More important, we used extended conversations with
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336 Journal of Language and Social Psychology 33(3)
speakers to study how filler words function in daily lives. This strategy provides better
ecological validity to investigate filler word use. With an increased understanding of
why and how filler words are used in verbal communication, we anticipate that people
may one day be able to use the active interpretation of filler words to improve the qual-
ity of their communication with others.
We would like to thank Matthias Mehl, Jenna Baddeley, and Michelle Fellows, who provided
data to allow us to reanalyze it. We also thank the editor Howard Giles and our anonymous
reviewers for their valuable comments on our article.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article: The research was supported in part by the Army Research
Institute (W5J9CQ-12-C-0043) and the National Science Foundation (IIS-1344257; NSCC-
0904913; BCS-1228693).
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Author Biographies
Charlyn M. Laserna is a medical student at the University of Texas at Houston Medical
School. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. Her
research interests surround language and verbal social cues.
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338 Journal of Language and Social Psychology 33(3)
Yi-Tai Seih currently works for the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at
Austin as a research associate. He received his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013.
His research focuses on the interplay between language and interpersonal relationships. His
most recent research focuses on how recipients perceive complaint language.
James W. Pennebaker is a professor and chair for the Department of Psychology at the
University of Texas at Austin. His most recent research focuses on the nature of language and
social dynamics in the real world. The words people use serve as powerful reflections of their
personality and social worlds.
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... A recent study [8], showed links between the use of filled pauses and discourse markers and perceived personality. Laserna and colleagues [8] analysed the use of the fillers I mean, you know, like, uh, and um and found that discourse markers were found to be used more commonly among women, younger participants and more conscientious people. ...
... A recent study [8], showed links between the use of filled pauses and discourse markers and perceived personality. Laserna and colleagues [8] analysed the use of the fillers I mean, you know, like, uh, and um and found that discourse markers were found to be used more commonly among women, younger participants and more conscientious people. Although there is no straightforward link between filled pauses and anxiety, with some studies showing a relationship [9] and others not [8,10], it seems listeners' impressions are shaped by a speaker's use of filled pauses, linking it to anxiety and lack of preparation [11]. ...
... Laserna and colleagues [8] analysed the use of the fillers I mean, you know, like, uh, and um and found that discourse markers were found to be used more commonly among women, younger participants and more conscientious people. Although there is no straightforward link between filled pauses and anxiety, with some studies showing a relationship [9] and others not [8,10], it seems listeners' impressions are shaped by a speaker's use of filled pauses, linking it to anxiety and lack of preparation [11]. ...
... Accumulating research indicates that discourse markers are used to provide information about the speaker or situation, to indicate informality or soften a statement, to keep the audience engaged, to indicate casual approximation, or to signal that the speaker is contemplating their next thought (Fox Tree & Shrock, 2002). Generally, it has been noted that discourse markers are usually longer phrases, such as "I mean" and "like" (Laserna & Pennebaker, 2014;Bortfield et al., 2001). ...
... This allows the viewing of participants' variance or lack of variance in filler word frequency while dealing with Maze A versus Maze B. Identifying the type of filler word helped to determine the cause of the filler word usage. In this study, only the filler words "I mean", "Like", "Um", and "Uh" were identified through the transcriptions, due to model studies like Laserna, 2014 andBortfield et al., 2001 using the same words, and their popularity. ...
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The present study investigates whether an adolescent’s confidence in their knowledge correlates to the frequency of filler words in their speech. High school participants (N=31) were presented with two mazes, Maze A to evoke more confidence and obstacle-ridden Maze B to evoke less confidence. Participants submitted Likert Scales regarding their confidence in completing each maze, then completed the mazes. They were then recorded while discussing each maze. Finally, their speech was transcribed and annotated for filler words, marking distinctions between filled pauses and discourse markers. Using this data, a Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient test and a paired t-test were conducted to test the strength of correlation between filler word frequency and confidence. The results of the Spearman Rank test implied negligible correlation between the variables, r(29) = -.1, p = .184. The paired t-test, using an accepted significance level of 0.05, indicated no difference in the means of filler word frequency data before confidence is decreased (M=5.5, SD=2.8) and filler word frequency after confidence is decreased (M=5.7, SD=3.1), t(30) = .3, p = .740). Additional Spearman Rank tests and paired t-tests results on filled pause and discourse marker usage before and after variation in confidence implied that an adolescent’s confidence does not influence the type of the filler word they use. Due to sample size limitations, these conclusions cannot be generalized, so further research is needed, but this data lays the foundation for adaptations to school curriculums and societal perceptions of adolescents.
... Social interactions formed thanks to the language are quite significant components in human life [2]. By virtue of the language, some things like one's age [3], sex [4,5], political view [6], eating habits [7] could be estimated. ...
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he approach presented in this study is about the calculation of the similarities among languages by using the new feature template to be obtained from the syntactic analysis phase. Studies were conducted on 6 different language sets from two different language families in order to show the calculability of similarity of languages with the help of the recommended new feature template. In the first study, triplet-pattern template which is obtained from the syntactic analysis of Turkey, Kazakh, and Uyghur Turkish languages from Turkic languages families belonging to the Ural-Altaic linguistic family, could be formed automatically through developed software, and also similarity analysis of the desired languages could be made thanks to a different module developed within the same software. Consequently, not only similar structural relations of the languages from the same language family but also structural differences among the languages can also be revealed. Even if the first aim is to determine the similarities among languages when developing an approach, the real aim of the desired structure is to form a system independent from the language. In order to show that the formed system has a structure independent from the language, another study was carried out. In the second study, the similarities among the languages were determined by using treebanks of English, Swedish and Norwegian from the Germen language family. When the language family is Turkic and the metrics are Jaccard, Dice, and Similarity Matching, the highest similarity is Turkish-Uyghur, and the values of the metrics are 25.21%, 40.27%, and 50.42%, respectively. When the language family is Germen, the highest similarity is Norwegian-Swedish, and the values of the metrics are 37.15%, 54.17%, and 74.3, respectively.
... It also helped researchers listen to the same talk and repeat a number of times without the need for memorizing. Audio recordings were employed in previous studies that investigated DMs and PMs, such as (Ali & Mahadin, 2015;House, 2013;Laserna et al., 2014;Maschler, 2016;Rabab'ah, 2015). These studies found collecting the data using audio recording a reliable source that can help capture the details of the linguistic and pragmatic aspects of the subject's use of language. ...
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The use of pragmatic markers as an aspect of language competence is necessary to present ideas and facts coherently. These markers mainly modify talk so that talk is comprehensible and meaningful, and help the audience follow the sequence of ideas. Failing to use these markers can negatively affect the audience's comprehension of the presentation and consequently affect the student's academic achievement. To this end, this study investigated the pragmatic markers used by Arab students during classroom oral presentations. The study focused on identifying the categories and sub-categories of markers as well as examining their linguistic meaning and pragmatic functions. The data were collected using audio-recordings of students' oral presentations and were analyzed based on Fraser's (1996) classification and functions of pragmatic markers. The findings can inform better oral presentation performance of ESL/EFL learners in general and postgraduate students in particular. They add up to the literature of pragmatic discourses.
... According to Garcés Conejos and Bou Franch (2002) the functions of fillers include cognitive function, social function and discourse-regulatory function which can increase students participation in English language teaching. Laserna, Seih and Pennebaker (2014) have also conducted a recent study related to the use of fillers. They said that Filled pauses were used at comparable rates across gender and age. ...
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In the formal context of communication, capability to speak in public and convince the audiences becomes an essential necessity (Al-Tamimi, 2014). Nevertheless, many people are afraid of public speaking (Brewer, 2001). As a result, fillers such as err…, umm…, or well, so, you know, I mean are often produced. However, fillers are considered as additional utterances produced by speakers to communicate naturally with the listeners. They help the speakers to shift one idea to another to make the listeners understand the meaning conveyed by the speakers easily. This study investigated twenty English public speaking videos and looked for the variation of fillers uttered by the speakers. The results showed that so, err, and umm were the frequent fillers uttered. The use of these fillers had various functions such as to introduce the speaker’ ideas, to gain audience’s attention, or to give time for the speakers to search for the word.
... This can be accomplished through the use of sharing qualifications, describing skills, asking appropriate questions, or telling a joke. The use of filler words (e.g., "uhm," "uh," and "like") can act as indicators of social anxiety, selfconsciousness, or honesty (Laserna, Seih, & Pennebaker, 2014;Lindholm, Jönsson, & Liuzza, 2018), which may also be interpreted by Others as signals regarding the social skills of an Actor. ...
Business leaders and HR professionals have long recognized the importance of social skills for effective organizational functioning, particularly in roles requiring high levels of interpersonal interaction. Accordingly, organizational science scholars have produced a large amount of research that can be organized under the broad heading of social skills. Yet, three key issues in the literature are hampering progress: (1) the lack of a well-accepted articulation of the social skills phenomenon, what it is and what it is not; (2) conceptual redundancy and conflation among the set of social skills-related concepts (e.g., individual differences, skills, behavior, evaluations, etc.), and (3) full consideration of the importance of social behavior in understanding social skills. We propose solutions for understanding social skills that begin to resolve these issues and help strengthen future empirical research. Specifically, we present two distinct, but related, conceptualizations of social skills: social skills enactment and social skills reputation. We then offer a theoretically grounded perspective, the Social Skills Framework, which incorporates these conceptualizations of social skills, provides a structure into which existing social skills concepts can be integrated and evaluated for conceptual clarity, and centers social behavior. After describing the framework, we offer a research agenda that focuses on refining the framework and investigating key issues related to the two conceptualizations of social skills.
Purpose This paper provides a framework of the indicators of the quality of text in online reviews and their influence on the perceived helpfulness of reviews. First, the authors assess the effects of concreteness, readability and credibility on review helpfulness. The authors then test whether these effects change, based on review valence and readers' personality traits (specifically, extraversion and neuroticism). Design/methodology/approach The authors conducted an online experiment in the context of hotel reviews and tested our model using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE). Findings The authors' findings indicate that consumers consider all three quality features – concreteness, readability and credibility when evaluating negative reviews. However, they assess positive reviews based only on how credible they seem to be. Consumers with the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion value different review characteristics and this difference is dependent on review valence. Originality/value To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to examine the interactions between review valence and reader personality on review helpfulness. The authors' findings make important contributions to the literature on information diagnosticity and offer managerial implications related to customizing the presentation order of reviews based on their expected helpfulness for individuals with extraverted and neurotic personalities.
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Iako se na poštapalice u jezičnim priručnicima gleda kao na rubnu vrstu, one su važan izvor informacija za brojne aspekte proučavanja jezične djelatnosti. Svrha je ovoga rada bila detaljnije promotriti neke od tih aspekata, preciznije uporabu poštapalica ovisno o govornome stilu u medijima, o spolu, kao i dobiti bolji uvid u planiranje govora tijekom govorne proizvodnje. U radu se analizira učestalost uporabe poštapalica u spontanome govoru na hrvatskome jeziku u ozbiljnim i zabavnim emisijama. Osim toga, analiza uključuje i položaj poštapalica u izričaju, njihova jezična obilježja te njihovu učestalost u muških i ženskih govornika. Govorni korpus čine jednominutne snimke 40 govornika u emisijama uživo javne televizije koji su ujednačeni prema spolu i tipu emisije. Rezultati pokazuju da neku vrstu poštapalica upotrebljavaju svi ispitanici, iako se njihova učestalost između pojedinih ispitanika bitno razlikuje. Nadalje, poštapalice se znatno češće koriste u zabavnim nego ozbiljnim emisijama, što se može objasniti različitim komunikacijskim strategijama govornika u ovim dvama tipovima. Također, poštapalice su znatno češće na početku izričaja u odnosu na sredinu i kraj, što ide u prilog tezi da je početak izričaja mjesto najvećeg kognitivnog opterećenja u proizvodnji govora. Nema razlike u ukupnom broju poštapalica između spolova, no muškarci češće nego žene koriste poštapalice na kraju izričaja. Prema vrsti riječi poštapalice su najčešće glagoli, a zatim prilozi i zamjenice. Najčešće poštapalice u analiziranom korpusu su: ono, pa, ovaj, zapravo i dakle, a osim navedenih kolektivnih poštapalica, govornici koriste i individualne poštapalice, tipične za pojedinca ili manju društvenuskupinu.
In two experiments, we investigated predictions of the collaborative theory of language use (Clark, 1996) as applied to instant messaging (IM). This theory describes how the presence and absence of different grounding constraints causes people to interact differently across different communicative media (Clark & Brennan, 1991). In Study 1, we document how IM changes as users increase in expertise. In Study 2, we compare adaptations across telephoning and IM with a focus on multitasking.
The current study measures laypeople's uses of um, uh, you know, and like, including folk notions of meanings, self-assessments of use, history of discussing use, and attitudes toward the words. Unlike the prevalent idea in the popular press that these discourse markers are interchangeable speaker production flaws, respondents in this study demonstrated that people do possess folk notions of meanings and uses that dramatically distinguish markers from each other. Um and uh were thought to indicate production trouble, you know was thought to be used in checking for understanding and connecting with listeners, and like defied definition. The folk notions of um, uh, and you know accord well with researchers' ideas about the meanings of these words. The use of like may be too subtle for laypeople to articulate. Most researchers' views of like involve some kind of discrepancy between what's said and what's meant. Even if they cannot state a meaning, people do treat the different markers differently.
This paper is a pragmatic, functional and discursive analysis of actual conversations. The aim of this research is to discover the extent to which the contributions of the participants in casual verbal interactions are influenced by variables such as age or gender. Casual conversation is the interactional pattern in which discourse markers could acquire the most innovative pragmatic meanings and functions due to the lack of discursive constraints that characterize this type of verbal exchange. Among the elements that generate such discursive individuality are the variables of age and gender. The latter variables could either contribute to the confirmation of the core pragmatic meanings and functions of discourse markers or they could trigger the speaker's distancing from these central functional descriptions.
Although you know and I mean are frequent in spontaneous talk, researchers have not agreed on what purpose they serve. They have been thought by some to be used similarly and by others to be used differently. Similarities of uses at a surface level encouraged historical discussions of these two markers in the same breath. The current synthesis details how both the apparent multifunctionality of you know and I mean and their surface similarities can arise out of each discourse marker’s basic meaning, with you know’s basic meaning being to invite addressee inferences (Jucker, A.H., & Smith, S.W. (1998). And people just you know like ‘wow’: Discourse markers as negotiating strategies. In A. H. Jucker & Y. Ziv (Eds.), Discourse Markers: Descriptions and Theory (pp. 171–201). Philadelphia: John Benjamins), and I mean’s basic meaning being to forewarn upcoming adjustments (Schiffrin, D. (1987). Discourse Markers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). # 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Although social functioning deficits are believed to characterize major depressive disorder (MDD), few studies have examined the social behavior of individuals with MDD in everyday life. The current study’s aim is to assess the everyday social behavior of individuals in a current major depressive episode. Participants with current MDD (n = 29) and healthy controls (n = 28) wore the electronically activated recorder (EAR), an ambulatory assessment device, for 3–4 days. The EAR recorded 90-second sound clips from participants’ immediate environments. Participants’ conversations were transcribed and locations and activities coded. Indicators of social isolation and negative emotional expression were examined. Individuals with and without MDD spent similar amounts of time talking, laughing, and with another person. However, depressed people spent less time in groups and used more negative emotion words, particularly in reference to the self, and particularly around romantic partners. Findings suggest depressed people’s social interactions suffer in quality but not quantity.
This study aims to test whether filled pauses (FPs) may highlight discourse structure. This question is tackled from the perspectives of both the speaker and the listener. More specifically, it is first investigated whether FPs are more typical in the vicinity of major discourse boundaries. Secondly, FPs are analyzed acoustically, to check whether those occurring at major discourse boundaries are segmentally and prosodically different from those at shallower breaks. Analyses of twelve spontaneous monologues (Dutch) show that phrases following major discourse boundaries more often contain FPs. Additionally, FPs after stronger breaks tend to occur phrase-initially, whereas the majority of the FPs after weak boundaries are in phrase-internal position. Also, acoustic observations reveal that FPs at major discourse boundaries are both segmentally and prosodically distinct. They also differ with respect to the distribution of neighbouring silent pauses. Finally, a general linear model reveals that discourse structure can to some extent be predicted from characteristics of the FPs.
The discourse marker use of the word like (‘we hitch a ride out of there with uh this like one crazy like music major guy’) is considered by many to be superfluously sprinkled into talk, a bad habit best avoided. But a comparison of the use of like in successive tellings of stories demonstrates that like can be anticipated in advance and planned into stories. In this way, like is similar to other words and phrases tellers recycle during story telling. The anticipation of like contrasted with the uses of other discourse markers such as oh, you know, and well, which almost never re-occurred in similar locations across tellings. Um and uh did sometimes re-occur; these uses are contrasted with like. Although discourse markers are generally used on the fly to handle various issues that come up in coordinating talk as it unfolds, like can be used as an integral part of the story -a marked contrast to the prevalent idea that likes are speech tics.