Do not Hesitate! — Unless You Do it Shortly or Nasally: How the Phonetics of Filled Pauses Determine Their Subjective Frequency and Perceived Speaker Performance

Oliver Niebuhr, Kerstin Fischer


In this paper, we test whether the perception of filled-pause (FP) frequency and public-speaking performance are mediated by the phonetic characteristics of FPs. In particular, total duration, vowel-formant pattern (if present), and nasal-segment proportion of FPs were correlated with perceptual data of 29 German listeners who rated excerpts of business presentations given by 68 German-speaking managers. Results show strong inter-speaker differences in how and how often FPs are realized. Moreover, differences in FP duration and nasal proportion are significantly correlated with estimated (i.e. subjective) FP frequency and perceived speaker performance. The shorter and more nasal a speaker’s FPs are, the more do listeners underestimate the speaker’s actual FP frequency and the higher they rate the speaker’s public-speaking performance. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for FP saliency and rhetorical training.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1194

Cite as: Niebuhr, O., Fischer, K. (2019) Do not Hesitate! — Unless You Do it Shortly or Nasally: How the Phonetics of Filled Pauses Determine Their Subjective Frequency and Perceived Speaker Performance. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 544-548, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1194.


@inproceedings{Niebuhr2019,
  author={Oliver Niebuhr and Kerstin Fischer},
  title={{Do not Hesitate! — Unless You Do it Shortly or Nasally: How the Phonetics of Filled Pauses Determine Their Subjective Frequency and Perceived Speaker Performance}},
  year=2019,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},
  pages={544--548},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1194},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1194}
}