Universal Communicative Strategies in Acquisition of Second Language Phonology
University of Freiburg
This study investigates the significance of filled and unfilled pause phenomena as a universal strategy in language acquisition to achieve potential in communication across languages. Thai, the language of Thailand is used as a second language by speakers of different first languages as well as a first language in a natural setting, in Thai environment.
The study, by way of contrastive analysis between speech samples of native and non-native speakers, provides statistical results on the distribution of pauses, with discussion of significant features which affect pauses and significance of pauses in conversations in Thai. As a result of the empirical testing of Thai spontaneous speech data, more information on Thai phonology has been revealed. Two corresponding types of pauses, filled pauses/pause fillers and unfilled/silent pauses are found in conversational Thai spontaneous speech. Filled pauses are categorized into two kinds, "common” filled pauses and "typically Thai” filled pauses. They are specifically used in isolation at conversational turns and in conversational overlappings. Unfilled pauses manifest themselves as relatively different durations of silence. Both types of pauses occur within conversational turns, before words initially composed of complex linguistic components. These components mostly operate under modification of certain prosodies, and are specifically characteristic of the target language. They motivate phonotactic constraints due to articulatory difficulties of speech processing which may relate to cognitive factors, especially control and awareness. Filled pauses and unfilled pauses are, as highlighted in this study, normal hesitation phenomena in spontaneous speech. They are phenomena of significance in communication as common speech strategies which enhance for potential proficiency of language acquisition, especially of a second language.
ISBN 9783895866500. LINCOM Studies in Language Acquisition 01. 250pp. 1999.