Verbal Fillers in Oral Language Production of Grade 12 Students
Keywords:speech disfluency, verbal fillers, non-word-fillers, phrase fillers, repetition and silent pauses
The word fillers such uh and umm are at odds with the field of psycholinguistics, where these kinds of verbal fillers are studied for their communicative value. This current study demonstrates that umm and uh are the inevitable -- and potentially beneficial -- byproducts of the enormously complicated task of human speech. This current study explored the causes of filler words (such as nervousness, infrequent words, and divided attention leading to anxiety). More so, the researcher summarized the kinds of fillers in spoken interaction into three kinds of fillers, they are non-words fillers, such as em, hmm, uh, um, etc; phrase fillers such as I mean, well, sort of, etc.; and silent pauses. However, in this study the researcher focused on non-words fillers and phrase fillers only. Also, this paper specifically discussed one of the subcategories of the grammatical approach of Hamers & Blanc (2000), which is extra-sentential code-switching, where a common feature is to add a tag question. The overall findings of the study presented in this paper led to the conclusion that the most common kind of filler used by students during oral recitation are the non-words fillers, such as um, uh, so, okay, etc, with the inclusion of Non-English verbal fillers (Filipino Word Fillers) such as Ano o, Ano and Kuan o, which were commonly uttered at the beginning of the sentence. Not using filler words or excessively using filler words can cause harm to a speaker’s credibility in that the speaker can be seen as unprepared or inexperienced. Thus, confident speakers who know what they are saying can be measured by the substance of their answers or utterances and not the frequency of their use of verbal fillers.
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