Variation and change in the use of hesitation markers in Germanic languages


In this study, we investigate crosslinguistic patterns in the alternation between UM, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel followed by a final labial nasal, and UH, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel in an open syllable. Based on a quantitative analysis of a range of spoken and written corpora, we identify clear and consistent patterns of change in the use of these forms in various Germanic languages (English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese) and dialects (American English, British English), with the use of UM increasing over time relative to the use of UH. We also find that this pattern of change is generally led by women and more educated speakers. Finally, we propose a series of possible explanations for this surprising change in hesitation marker usage that is currently taking place across Germanic languages.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: ?? 53981500Jl ??
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Language Research at Aston (CLaRA)
Uncontrolled Keywords: crosslinguistic change,hesitation markers,corpus linguistics ,language change,Language and Linguistics,Linguistics and Language
Publication ISSN: 2210-5832
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 07:13
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 10:19
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://brill.c ... icle-p199_2.xml (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2016-11-01
Published Online Date: 2016-01-01
Authors: Wieling, Martijn
Grieve, Jack (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3630-7349)
Bouma, Gosse
Fruehwald, Josef
Coleman, John
Liberman, Mark



Version: Accepted Version

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