ISCA Archive DiSS 2005
ISCA Archive DiSS 2005

A preliminary study of Mandarin filled pauses

Yuan Zhao, Dan Jurafsky

The paper reports preliminary results on Mandarin filled pauses (FPs), based on a large speech corpus of Mandarin telephone conversation. We find that Mandarin intensively uses both demonstratives (zhege ‘this’, nage ‘that’) and uh/ mm as FPs. Demonstratives are more frequent FPs and are more likely to be surrounded by other types of disfluency phenomena than uh/mm, as well as occurring more often in nominal environments. We also find durational differences: FP demonstratives are longer than non-FP demonstratives, and mm is longer than uh. The study also revealed dialectal influence on the use of FPs. Our results agree with earlier work which shows that a language may divide conversational labor among different FPs. Our work also extends this research in suggesting that different languages may assign conversational functions to FPs in different ways.

Cite as: Zhao, Y., Jurafsky, D. (2005) A preliminary study of Mandarin filled pauses. Proc. Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (DiSS 2005), 179-182

  author={Yuan Zhao and Dan Jurafsky},
  title={{A preliminary study of Mandarin filled pauses}},
  booktitle={Proc. Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (DiSS 2005)},