Interesting article on the reason for the worldwide use of “uh”, “uhm”, and other speech “slowdown” sounds

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SonOfTheExiles
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Post by SonOfTheExiles » March 14th, 2019, 7:43 pm

“Nouns Slow Down Our Speech”
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“"We discovered that in this diverse sample of languages, there is a robust tendency for slow-down effects before nouns as compared to verbs," explain Bickel and Seifart. "The reason is that nouns are more difficult to plan because they're usually only used when they represent new information." Otherwise, they are replaced with pronouns (e.g., "she") or omitted, as in the following example: "My friend came back. She (my friend) took a seat" or "My friend came back and took a seat." No such replacement principles apply to verbs—they are generally used regardless of whether they represent new or old information.

The findings also shed new light on long-standing puzzles in linguistics. For example, the findings suggest universal long-term effects on how grammar evolves over time: The slow-down effects before nouns make it more difficult for nouns to develop complex forms through contraction with words that precede them. In German, for example, prefixes are far more common in verbs (ent-kommen, ver-kommen, be-kommen, vor-kommen, etc.) than in nouns.“

https://m.phys.org/news/2018-05-nouns-speech.html
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mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » March 15th, 2019, 11:55 am

Thanks. I love this kind of stuff.

I was wondering the other day about the use (or overuse) of "like" in English. (It may be only American English that chronically interjects "like," I wouldn't know.)

I am sure that "like" serves a linguistic purpose, but I don't know what it is. It might be one of these slow down words, but there are times when the sentence doesn't even sound right without it!

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Post by lymiewithpurpose » March 15th, 2019, 12:01 pm

mightyfelix wrote:
March 15th, 2019, 11:55 am
I was wondering the other day about the use (or overuse) of "like" in English. (It may be only American English that chronically interjects "like," I wouldn't know.)
I know, it's insane! Don't know about in Texas, but here in California we use 'like' in around every sentence. Don't know why, it just comes out
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Post by JayKitty76 » March 15th, 2019, 1:28 pm

I actually use 'like' to help me say things- I've probably mentioned this before in other threads but I have a problem with stuttering, and vowel words are especially tricky. Letters that trip me up include all vowels and some consonants. The way I mostly use 'like' is something like this:
"I did, like, a lot of work on LibriVox today....etc etc." I use it right before a vowel.


When I'm reading aloud, especially for recording, I tend to say 'um' in place of 'like'. I blend the difficult word with 'um' like this:

"The window was, um, open." Except it sounds more like they're combined, more like 'um-open' since I don't rest between both words (because that's the whole point of my saying 'um'). But that makes it difficult when editing, because I try to make the best cuts possible, but if both words are blended in one soundwave, it's not going to sound flawless...it'll sound like it was cut right in between.. I know LV doesn't have standards on perfect editing, but I like mine to be as good as possible.
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Post by TriciaG » March 16th, 2019, 9:26 am

"The window was, um, open." Except it sounds more like they're combined, more like 'um-open' since I don't rest between both words (because that's the whole point of my saying 'um'). But that makes it difficult when editing, because I try to make the best cuts possible, but if both words are blended in one soundwave, it's not going to sound flawless...it'll sound like it was cut right in between.. I know LV doesn't have standards on perfect editing, but I like mine to be as good as possible.
Can you train yourself to say "like" instead of "umm" when reading? It would be easier to edit out due to the full-stop end on the K sound. 8-)
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Post by tovarisch » March 16th, 2019, 9:38 am

If one can train oneself to say one word instead of the other, wouldn't it be easier to train not to say anything at all?.. :hmm: :)
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Post by JayKitty76 » March 16th, 2019, 10:24 am

tovarisch wrote:
March 16th, 2019, 9:38 am
If one can train oneself to say one word instead of the other, wouldn't it be easier to train not to say anything at all?.. :hmm: :)
TriciaG wrote:
March 16th, 2019, 9:26 am
"The window was, um, open." Except it sounds more like they're combined, more like 'um-open' since I don't rest between both words (because that's the whole point of my saying 'um'). But that makes it difficult when editing, because I try to make the best cuts possible, but if both words are blended in one soundwave, it's not going to sound flawless...it'll sound like it was cut right in between.. I know LV doesn't have standards on perfect editing, but I like mine to be as good as possible.
Can you train yourself to say "like" instead of "umm" when reading? It would be easier to edit out due to the full-stop end on the K sound. 8-)
Tricia,
I will try saying "like" instead. The only thing is, the L sound used to not be a problem, but now it's developed where it's a problem. But saying "like" instead does make sense- I never thought of that before - so thank you!


Tovarisch,
Honestly, I wish I could train myself to read it normally. But stuttering isn't something I (or anyone else with the same problem) can really train to stop. For me, I get to a vowel word and I simply can't say it. It doesn't really make sense in my mind either- I always tell myself to just say it, how hard can it be to say a word? But it is, and I've found that no matter how hard I try I can't force it to come out. I started another thread where a lot of the volunteers here gave me tips on how to lessen it (so thanks for that!). But for me, I don't think it's an issue of stopping it completely - I think it's just a matter of finding ways to decrease it and make life (and editing) easier for me.
Thanks again, Tricia and Tovarisch, for your ideas :wink:
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Post by tovarisch » March 16th, 2019, 10:48 am

I have no recommendation for you on overcoming your affliction, I wish I could help, but alas. However, following on what you said and Tricia recommends, words that start with a hard consonant (compared to 'n', 'm', 'l', etc.) and end on it are definitely easier to edit out, so, instead of 'like', try 'track' or 'crack'... I mean, if it's the same for you what to train to say instead of 'umm'...

Somebody else in another thread was discussing anxiety and nervousness developing because of errors and then errors compounding because of the state of mind... Perhaps stuttering is of similar nature. If so, you might find the techniques to calm yourself, beneficial. If stumbling happens due to constant fear of messing up (plus the expectation of more work in the editing phase because of that), which then turns into a vicious circle (fear feeding on errors, and errors happening due to heightened fear), you need to take a break and get back into a state in which you aren't afraid to mess it up, and if you do, it does not really matter...

Best of luck!
tovarisch
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    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

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Post by SonOfTheExiles » March 16th, 2019, 9:45 pm

“I will try saying "like" instead. The only thing is, the L sound used to not be a problem, but now it's developed where it's a problem. But saying "like" instead does make sense- I never thought of that before - so thank you!”

I don’t know if this makes sense, but would it be possible to combine the best of the two solutions and make up your own slow-down word? Like “mike” or “ummike” or something?

Chris
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Post by JayKitty76 » March 18th, 2019, 2:50 pm

tovarisch wrote:
March 16th, 2019, 10:48 am
I have no recommendation for you on overcoming your affliction, I wish I could help, but alas. However, following on what you said and Tricia recommends, words that start with a hard consonant (compared to 'n', 'm', 'l', etc.) and end on it are definitely easier to edit out, so, instead of 'like', try 'track' or 'crack'... I mean, if it's the same for you what to train to say instead of 'umm'...

Somebody else in another thread was discussing anxiety and nervousness developing because of errors and then errors compounding because of the state of mind... Perhaps stuttering is of similar nature.

Best of luck!
Hi Tovarisch,
Thanks for your recommendations! Oddly enough, I don't feel nervous when I record. It's usually just me and the computer, so I don't know why I'd be nervous. But maybe, subconsciously, I am dreading making mistakes because of lengthened editing time. Editing is my least favorite part of the process, so that does make sense. I just never thought of it that way. This thread and this thread both have helpful tips on stopping nervousness. (Those are the 'covering up stumbles...and then getting nervous?' thread [by Elijah, ej400] and the 'how should I stop/decrease stuttering?' thread I made, if anyone wants to know without clicking the link.)

Thanks for your feedback! I will try those out the next time I record.
SonOfTheExiles wrote:
March 16th, 2019, 9:45 pm
“I will try saying "like" instead. The only thing is, the L sound used to not be a problem, but now it's developed where it's a problem. But saying "like" instead does make sense- I never thought of that before - so thank you!”

I don’t know if this makes sense, but would it be possible to combine the best of the two solutions and make up your own slow-down word? Like “mike” or “ummike” or something?

Chris
Hi Chris,
It might be a better transition for me to start with 'um' and then quickly transfer to the slowdown word, yes! Thank you! For starters, I'll try that, and then transfer to Tovarisch/Tricia's suggestions. It might be easier that way.

Sorry, I didn't mean to turn this thread into a 'how do I stop stuttering?' thread. I just thought I might comment on how I personally use 'like' because a couple people were saying that Americans overuse 'like'.

Thanks,
Rachel
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Post by SonOfTheExiles » March 18th, 2019, 3:18 pm

An article from a different source puts forward a recent hypothesis that humans couldn’t pronounce ‘f’ or ‘v’ before the development of farming.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2196580-humans-couldnt-pronounce-f-and-v-sounds-before-farming-developed/


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Post by tovarisch » March 18th, 2019, 3:54 pm

Truly interesting, Chris. :thumbs:

Curiously, in Russian, where both the sounds had existed since long time ago, the letter corresponding to the non-voiced consonant ('f') used to be quite rare in the vocabulary; as an example of its rarity Pushkin's poem "Poltava" has always been used: in it there are only three words with the letter that makes that sound, all borrowed...
tovarisch
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