Publication details [#62773]

Erker, Daniel G. and Joanna Bruso. 2017. Uh, bueno, em … : Filled pauses as a site of contact-induced change in Boston Spanish. Language Variation and Change 29 (2) : 205–244.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
Cambridge University Press


This inquiry employs a comparative variationist method to examine potential effects of language contact on pause behavior, exploring 3810 filled pauses generated by 24 Spanish-speaking residents of Boston, Massachusetts. Interspeaker differences in pause behavior correlate with intensity of contact. Participants who have resided in the United States for a greater fraction of their lives, who employ English more often, and who do so more ably fill pauses differently when speaking Spanish than do those who have spent less time in the contact setting and whose English abilities and usage are more limited. Findings display show that a greater level of contact corresponds to enhanced use of centralized vowels in phonologically filled pauses (i.e., more frequent use of [a(m)] and [ə(m)] at the expense of [e(m)]). This pattern is read as evidence of contact-induced change.