ISCA Archive

Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech

Aix-en-Provence, France
September 10-12, 2005


A Preliminary Study of Mandarin Filled Pauses

Yuan Zhao, Dan Jurafsky

Stanford University, CA, USA

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.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zhao, Yuan / Jurafsky, Dan (2005): "A preliminary study of Mandarin filled pauses", In DiSS-2005, 179-182.