Planning what to say
Based on data from the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken American English, this paper argues that the vocalizations [ə(:)] and [ə(:)m]), usually transcribed uh and um, can be regarded as pragmatic markers, rather than as undesirable disfluencies or hesitation markers. It is shown that they are especially frequent in registers and contexts that require more planning by speakers, like narrative passages in conversation and in task-related contexts, especially in long turns. The term planner is therefore proposed as an appropriate designation. Co-occurrences of uh and um with other pragmatic markers such as well, you know, I mean and like as well as with and and but are shown to support this view.