Speaking of Futons

“You. . . . .can come . . . . pick . . . up the . . . chair at . . . any time . . . . .tomorrow.” This was part of a conversation I had yesterday while trying to arrange pick up of a futon. I was left unsure and slightly uncomfortable because the pauses didn’t follow a normal pattern.
I didn’t know how to interpret this speech pattern. Was she distracted, scared, or was she unsure about whether to complete the transaction. These thoughts all floated through my mind. I felt awkward and uncomfortable.

On usual speech patterns in others can lead us to eel uncomfortable. Sometimes these patterns can be the result of different cultural standards of social speech or the occasional disfluency we all experience  which include pauses, interjections like oh, ah, um etc and phrase repetitions. However, a disfluency rate of more than 3% will disrupt the flow of a conversation.  Unexpected and frequent starts and stops in speech can be part of natural behavior caused by emotions or normal breaks in order to formulate languae or it can also signal difficulty with idea formulation.

Published by Kai Long

Kai currently lives in MA and is interested in collaborating with others to develop a deeper understanding of our speech and language needs.