December 20, 2006

Does Glaswegian really have five different filled pauses?

Robin Lickley writes:

In your blog of May 02 2005, you ask the question above. ["Um, em, uh, ah, aah, er, eh".]

Well, a student of mine has been measuring formants of FPs in Glaswegian speakers for her undergrad honours project.

The answer is that some Glaswegians (in the HCRC map task corpus), do seem to have 4 different FPs: orthographically eh, em, uh and um, with two very distinct vowels. She has also looked at the two English English speakers in the corpus, and 5 Canadians in the DCIEM Map Task corpus. We get different distributions of vowels - in some accents the FP vowel is [e]-like, some [a]-like, some [uh]-like and, so far in these data, not many are very schwa-like, where schwa is taken from long instances of 'the' (not theee).

I recently heard on the radio and kept a recording of another Scottish speaker with a [ai] diphthong in his FPs - [ai] and [aim]. Unfortunately, he has not responded to email.

We will no doubt be presenting these findings and more at DiSS 07 ( just before ICPhS, in a paper called, eh...

"Um not so schwa"

How many different filled pauses do you have? If you speak a dialect with some ums and uhs that are interesting either in quantity or in quality -- or you're around someone who does -- send me an audio clip.

Posted by Mark Liberman at December 20, 2006 08:34 AM