Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This article presents a corpus-based contrastive study of (dis)fluency in French and English, focusing on the clustering of discourse markers (DMs) and filled pauses (FPs) across various spoken registers. Starting from the hypothesis that markers of (dis)fluency, or ‘fluencemes’, occur more frequently in sequences than in isolation, and that their contribution to the relative fluency of discourse can only be assessed by taking into account the contextual distribution of these sequences, this study uncovers the specific contextual conditions that trigger the clustering of fluencemes in the two languages. First, the contexts of appearance of DMs and FPs are described separately, both in English and French, focusing on their distribution, position and co-occurrence patterns. Then, the combination of DMs and FPs in sequences and their different configurations (DM+FP, FP+DM, etc.) are investigated. Overall, it appears that FPs function differently depending on whether they are clustered with DMs or not, and this difference consists in either maintaining or erasing inter- and intra-linguistic contrasts.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aijmer, K.
    1997I think – An English Modal Particle. InModality in Germanic Languages. Historical and Comparative Perspectives, T. Swan and O. Westvik (eds), 1–47. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110889932.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110889932.1 [Google Scholar]
  2. Aijmer, K. and Simon-Vandenbergen, A.-M.
    2006Pragmatic Markers in Contrast. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Arnold, J. , Fagnano, M. and Tanenhaus, M.
    2003 Disfluencies Signal theee, um, New Information. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research32(1): 25–36. doi: 10.1023/A:1021980931292
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021980931292 [Google Scholar]
  4. Arnold, J. , Hudson-Kam C. and Tanenhaus, M.
    2007 If you ay thee uh you are describing something hard: The On-line Attribution of Disfluency during Reference Comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition33(5): 914–930.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Auer, P.
    2005 Delayed Self-repairs as a Structuring Device for Complex Turns in Conversation. InSyntax and Lexis in Conversation, A. Hakulinen and M. Selting (eds), 75–102. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sidag.17.06aue
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sidag.17.06aue [Google Scholar]
  6. Barr, D. and Seyfeddinipur, M.
    2010 The Role of Fillers in Listener Attributions for Speaker Disfluency. Language and Cognitive Processes25(4): 441–455. doi: 10.1080/01690960903047122
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01690960903047122 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bazzanella, C. , Bosco, C. , Garcea, A. , Gili Fivela, B. , Miecznikowsky, J. and Tini Brunozzi, F.
    2007 Italian allora, French alors: Functions, Convergences and Divergences. Catalan Journal of Linguistics6: 9–30.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Bolly, C. , Crible, L. , Degand, L. and Uygur-Distexhe, D.
    (in press). Towards a Model for Discourse Marker Annotation. From Potential to Feature-based Discourse Markers. InDiscourse Markers, Pragmatic Markers and Modal Particles: New Perspectives, C. Fedriani and A. Sansó eds Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Bortfeld, H. , Leon, S. , Bloom, J. , Schober, M. , Brennan, S.
    2001 Disfluency Rates in Conversation: Effects of Age, Relationship, Topic, Role, and Gender. Language and Speech44(2): 123–147. doi: 10.1177/00238309010440020101
    https://doi.org/10.1177/00238309010440020101 [Google Scholar]
  10. Bosker, H. R. , Quené, H. , Sanders, T. and de Jong, N.
    2014 Native ‘um’s Elicit Prediction of Low-frequency Referents, but Non-native ‘um’s Do Not. Journal of Memory and Language75: 104–116. doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2014.05.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2014.05.004 [Google Scholar]
  11. Brennan, S. E. , and Schober, M. F.
    2001 How Listeners Compensate for Disfluencies in Spontaneous Speech. Journal of Memory and Language44: 274–296. doi: 10.1006/jmla.2000.2753
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.2000.2753 [Google Scholar]
  12. Brinton, L.
    1996Pragmatic Markers in English. Grammaticalization and Discourse Functions. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110907582
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110907582 [Google Scholar]
  13. Broen, P. and Siegel, G.
    1972 Variations in Normal Speech Disfluencies. Language and Speech15: 219–231.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Brognaux, S. , Roekhaut, S. , Drugman, T. and Beaufort, R.
    2014 Train & Align: Un Outil d’Alignement Phonétique Automatique Disponible en Ligne. Paper presented atthe Journées d’étude de la parole (JEP), Le Mans.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Clark, H. and Fox Tree, J.
    2002 Using uh and um in Spontaneous Speaking. Cognition84: 73–111. doi: 10.1016/S0010‑0277(02)00017‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(02)00017-3 [Google Scholar]
  16. Corley, M. and Stewart, O.
    2008 Hesitation Disfluencies in Spontaneous Speech: the Meaning of um . Language and Linguistics Compass2(4): 589–602. doi: 10.1111/j.1749‑818X.2008.00068.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-818X.2008.00068.x [Google Scholar]
  17. Crible, L.
    2014 Identifying and Describing Discourse Markers in Spoken Corpora. Annotation Protocol v. 8 Unpublishedworking draft, Université Catholique de Louvain.
  18. 2015 Étude Contrastive des Marqueurs de Discours Français et Anglais: Approche Onomasiologique sur Corpus Comparable. Paper presented atthe 4th International Symposium “Discourse Markers in Romance Languages: a Contrastive Approach”, Heidelberg, 6–9 May 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. (in press). Towards an Operational Category of Discourse Markers: A Definition and its Model. InDiscourse Markers, Pragmatic Markers and Modal Particles: New Perspectives, C. Fedriani and A. Sansó eds Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Crible, L. , Dumont, A. , Grosman, I. and Notarrigo, I.
    2016 Annotation Manual of Fluency and Disfluency Markers in Multilingual, Multimodal, Native and LearnerCorpora, v.2 0 Technical Report, Université Catholique de Louvain and Université de Namur.
  21. Crible, L. , Zufferey, S.
    2015 Using a Unified Taxonomy to Annotate Discourse Markers in Speech and Writing. InProceedings ofthe 11th Joint ACL-ISO Workshop on Interoperable Semantic Annotation (isa-11), 14 April 2015, London, H. Bunt (ed.), 14–22.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Cuenca, M.-J.
    2003 Two Ways to Reformulate: A Contrastive Analysis of Reformulation Markers. Journal of Pragmatics35: 1069–1093. doi: 10.1016/S0378‑2166(03)00004‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(03)00004-3 [Google Scholar]
  23. Defour, T. , D’Hondt, U. , Vandenbergen, A.-M. and Willems, D.
    2010 In fact, en fait, de fait, au fait: a Contrastive Study of the Synchronic Correspondences and Diachronic Development of English and French Cognates. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen111(4): 433–463.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Degand, L.
    2014 ‘So very fast, very fast then’ Discourse Markers at Left and Right Periphery in Spoken French. InThe role of the Left and Right Periphery in Semantic Change: Crosslinguistic Investigations of Language and Language Change, K. Beeching and U. Detges (eds), 151–178. Brill: Leiden.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Degand, L. and Gilquin, G.
    2013 The Clustering of ‘Fluencemes’ in French and English. Paper presented atthe 7th International Contrastive Linguistics Conference (ICLC 7) – 3rd Conference on Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies (UCCTS 3), Ghent, 11–13 July 2013.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Dister, A. , Francard, M. , Hambye, P. and Simon, A.-C.
    2009 Du Corpus à la Banque de Données. Du Son, des Textes et des Métadonnées. L’Évolution de Banque de Données Textuelles Orales VALIBEL (1989–2009) Cahiers de Linguistique33(2): 113–129.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Dumont, A.
    2014 Annotation of Fluency and Disfluency Markers in Nonnative Spoken Corpora. Paper presented atthe Interlanguage Annotation Workshop (Societas Linguistica Europaea – 47th Annual Meeting), Poznań, 11–14 September 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Eklund, R. and Shriberg, S.
    1998 Crosslinguistic Disfluency Modelling: a Comparative Analysis of Swedish and American English Human-human and Human-machine Dialogs. Paper presented atthe 5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, Sydney, 30 November-4 December 1998.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Fagard, B. and Degand, L.
    2010 Cause and Subjectivity, a Comparative Study of French and Italian. Lingvisticae Investigationes: Revue Internationale de Linguistique Française et de Linguistique Générale33(2): 179–193. doi: 10.1075/li.33.2.03fag
    https://doi.org/10.1075/li.33.2.03fag [Google Scholar]
  30. Gilquin, G.
    2006 The Place of Prototypicality in Corpus Linguistics. Causation in the Hot Seat. InCorpora in Cognitive Linguistics: Corpus-based Approaches to Syntax and Lexis, S. Gries and A. Stefanowitsch (eds), 159–191. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. 2008 What You Think ain’t what You Get: Highly Polysemous Verbs in Mind and Language. InDu Fait Grammatical au Fait Cognitif. From Gram to Mind: Grammar as Cognition. Volume2, J.-R. Lapaire , G. Desagulier and J.-B. Guignard (eds), 235–255. Pessac: Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. González, M.
    2005 Pragmatic Markers and Discourse Coherence Relations in English and Catalan Oral Narrative. Discourse Studies77(1): 53–86. doi: 10.1177/1461445605048767
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445605048767 [Google Scholar]
  33. Götz, S.
    2013Fluency in Native and Nonnative English Speech. Amsterdam : John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/scl.53
    https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.53 [Google Scholar]
  34. Grosjean, F. and Deschamps A.
    1975 Analyse Contrastive des Variables Temporelles de l’Anglais et du Français: Vitesse de Parole et Variables Composantes, Phénomènes d’Hésitation. Phonetica31: 144–184. doi: 10.1159/000259667
    https://doi.org/10.1159/000259667 [Google Scholar]
  35. Grosman, I.
    2016 How do French Humorists Manage their Persona across Situations? A Corpus Study on their Prosodic Variation. InMetapragmatics of Humor: Current Research Trends, L. Ruiz-Gurillo (ed.), 147–175. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/ivitra.14.08gro
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ivitra.14.08gro [Google Scholar]
  36. Guillemin-Flescher, J.
    1981Syntaxe Comparée du Français et de l’Anglais. Paris: Ophrys.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Hasselgård, H.
    2014 Discourse-structuring Functions of Initial Adverbials in English and Norwegian News and Fiction. Languages in Contrast14: 73–92. doi: 10.1075/lic.14.1.05has
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lic.14.1.05has [Google Scholar]
  38. Hasselgren, A.
    2002 Learner Corpora and Language Testing: Smallwords as Markers of Learner Fluency. InComputer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching, S. Granger , J. Hung and S. Petch-Tyson (eds), 143–173. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/lllt.6.11has
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.6.11has [Google Scholar]
  39. Hawkins, P. R.
    1971 The Syntactic Location of Hesitation Pauses. Language and Speech14: 277–288.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Hieke, A.
    1985 A Componential Approach to Oral Fluency Evaluation. The Modern Language Journal69(2): 135–142. doi: 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.1985.tb01930.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1985.tb01930.x [Google Scholar]
  41. Levelt, W.
    1989Speaking. From Intention to Articulation. Cambridge: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Maclay, H. and Osgood, C.
    1959 Hesitation Phenomena in Spontaneous English Speech. Word15: 19–44. doi: 10.1080/00437956.1959.11659682
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1959.11659682 [Google Scholar]
  43. Mahl, G. F.
    1987Explorations in Nonverbal and Vocal Behavior. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Merlo, S. and Mansur, L.
    2004 Descriptive Discourse: Topic Familiarity and Disfluencies. Journal of Communication Disorders37: 489–503. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2004.03.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcomdis.2004.03.002 [Google Scholar]
  45. Müller, S.
    2005Discourse Markers in Native and Non-native English Discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/pbns.138
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.138 [Google Scholar]
  46. Nelson, G. , Wallis, S. and Aarts, B.
    2002Exploring Natural Language: Working with the British Component of the International Corpus of English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/veaw.g29
    https://doi.org/10.1075/veaw.g29 [Google Scholar]
  47. Notarrigo, I. , Meurant, L. and Simon, A.-C.
    2016 Repetition of Signs according to Language Background. Paper presented atthe 12th Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR), Melbourne, 4–7 January 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. O’Connell, D. and Kowal, S.
    2005 Uh and um Revisited: are they Interjections for Signaling Delay?Journal of Psycholinguistic Research34: 555–576. doi: 10.1007/s10936‑005‑9164‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-005-9164-3 [Google Scholar]
  49. O’Donnell, W. and Todd, L.
    1980Variety in Contemporary English. London: Allen and Unwin. doi: 10.4324/9780203308288
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203308288 [Google Scholar]
  50. Oviatt, S.
    1995 Predicting Spoken Disfluencies during Human-computer Interaction. Computer Speech and Language9. doi: 10.1006/csla.1995.0002
    https://doi.org/10.1006/csla.1995.0002 [Google Scholar]
  51. Ragan, S.
    1983 Alignment and Conversational Coherence. InConversational Coherence: Form, Structure and Strategy, R. Craig and K. Tracy (eds), 157–171. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Roberts, B. and Kirsner, K.
    2000 Temporal Cycles in Speech Production. Language and Cognitive Processes15(2): 129–157. doi: 10.1080/016909600386075
    https://doi.org/10.1080/016909600386075 [Google Scholar]
  53. Roekhaut, S. , Brognaux, S. , Beaufort, R. and Dutoit, T.
    2014 eLite-HTS: un Outil TAL pour la Génération de SYnthèse HMM en Français. Paper presented atthe Journées d’Etude de la Parole (JEP), Le Mans, France.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Schiffrin, D.
    1987Discourse Markers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511611841
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511611841 [Google Scholar]
  55. Schmidt, T. and Wörner, K.
    2009 EXMARaLDA – Creating, Analysing and Sharing Spoken Language Corpora for Pragmatic Research. Pragmatics19: 565–582. doi: 10.1075/prag.19.4.06sch
    https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.19.4.06sch [Google Scholar]
  56. Schneider, U.
    2014Frequency, Hesitations and Chunks. A Usage-based Study of Chunking in English. Freiburg: NIHIN Studies.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Shriberg, E.
    1994 Preliminaries to a Theory of Speech Disfluencies. PhD thesis, University of California at Berkeley.
  58. Stenström, A.-B.
    1990 Pauses in Monologue and Dialogue. InThe London-Lund Corpus of Spoken English: Description and Research, J. Svartvik (ed.), 211–252. Lund: Lund University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Swerts, M.
    1998 Filled Pauses as Markers of Discourse Structure. Journal of Pragmatics30: 485–496. doi: 10.1016/S0378‑2166(98)00014‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(98)00014-9 [Google Scholar]
  60. Tottie, G.
    2011Uh and um as Sociolinguistic Markers in British English. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics16: 173–197. doi: 10.1075/ijcl.16.2.02tot
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.16.2.02tot [Google Scholar]
  61. 2015aUh and um in British and American English: Are they Words? Evidence from Co-occurrence with Pauses. InLinguistic variation: Confronting Fact and Theory, N. Dion , A. Lapierre and R. Torres Cacoullos (eds), 38–54. New York/Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. 2015b From Pause to Word: Uh and um in Written Language. Paper presented atICAME 36, Trier, 27–31 May 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Vasilescu, I. , Nemoto, R. and Adda-Decker, M.
    2007 Vocalic Hesitations vs Vocalic Systems: a Cross-language Comparison. InProceedings of the ICPhS 16th International Congress of Phonetic Science.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. Vinay, J.-P. and Darbelnet, J.
    1995 [1958] Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A Methodology for Translation. Translated and ed. by J. Sager and M.-J. Hamel. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/btl.11
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.11 [Google Scholar]
  65. Willems, D. and Demol, A.
    2006Vraiment and Really in Contrast: When Truth and Reality Meet. InPragmatic Markers in Contrast, K. Aijmer and A.-M. Simon-Vandenbergen (eds), 215–235. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Zhao, Y. and Jurafsky, D.
    2005 A Preliminary Study of Mandarin Filled Pauses. InProceedings of DiSS’05, Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech Workshop, September 10–12, Aix-en-Provence, France, 179–182.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): comparable corpus; discourse markers; English/French; filled pauses; fluency
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error