Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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The present study aims to explore the status of filled pauses as pragmatic markers by taking into account their accompanying visual and gestural behavior. This aspect has not yet been widely explored, and the current study breaks new ground by demonstrating that the analysis of gaze and gesture can shed substantial light on the pragmatic functions of filled pauses and other pausing phenomena. Filled pauses (FPs) serve several pragmatic functions in speech, mainly planning but also turn-holding and emphasis, and their use is also highly determined by register and setting. This research explores the different pragmatic functions of FPs by analyzing their distribution in two different communication settings (conversation vs presentation setting), combining a quantitative and a qualitative methodology, following Kosmala & Crible’s (2021) study on the same data. Particular attention was paid to the co-occurring gestural activity of and gaze behavior. Analyses show that the pragmatic functions of FPs are also embodied in kinetic activities which differ according to the setting: more pragmatic and referential ones were found during FPs in conversation than in the presentation setting, as well as more eye-contact, which reflects their potential communicative role during interactional sequences.


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Keyword(s): face-to-face interactions; filled pauses; gesture; multimodality; register variation
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