Why do we, like, hesitate when we, um, speak? – Lorenzo García-Amaya

Why do we fill pauses in speech with words like “um,” “uh,” and “like”? Dig into the hesitation phenomenon to find out their linguistic significance.

For as long as we’ve had language, some people have tried to control it. And some of the most frequent targets of this communication regulation are the ums, ers, and likes that pepper our conversations. These linguistic fillers occur roughly 2 to 3 times per minute in natural speech. So are ums and uhs just a habit we can’t break? Or is there more to them? Lorenzo García-Amaya investigates.

Lesson by Lorenzo García-Amaya, directed by Yael Reisfeld.

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View full lesson: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-do-we-like-hesitate-when-we-um-speak-lorenzo-garcia-amaya
Dig deeper with additional resources: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-do-we-like-hesitate-when-we-um-speak-lorenzo-garcia-amaya#digdeeper

Animator’s website: https://www.yaelreisfeld.com/
Educator’s website: http://umich.edu/~speechlab/
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