Fillers and their relevance in describing Sliammon Salish

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Since fillers do not play a central role in the grammar of a language, they are often neglected in language description. This is especially true of research on under-documented, endangered languages, and even more so at early stages of research on them, because there are so many “important” aspects of grammar to which researchers need to pay their full attention. This paper gives a preliminary account of the filler in Sliammon Salish. The Sliammon filler has relevance to the description of a seemingly unrelated part of the Sliammon grammar, i.e. the identification of certain morphemes as clitics, as opposed to affixes. The filler does not occur within the (morphological) word domain; therefore, if this filler occurs between a morpheme and a word, then that morpheme must be a clitic or another word, not an affix. This heuristic use of the filler in Sliammon underscores the importance of collecting natural textual material since fillers do not occur in elicited sentences. Keywords: hesitation filler; placeholder; clitic; proclitic; enclitic; mobile clitic


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