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Hesitation Particles - Maia Chao
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Hesitation Particles (2016)

sound composition (5:29)


Filler words are a type of discourse particle often called hesitation particles used in most languages to mark a pause or hesitation in speech. As positive signifiers of linguistic gaps, they are uniquely poised in the space between sound and language.​ This audio composition is comprised of original recordings collected through one-on-one interviews with 31 native speakers of distinct languages. The arrangement emulates linguistic immersion and the sensation of a crowd, allowing viewers to encounter the individual and the collective at once. The composition ebbs and flows as the prosody of the speakers converge and diverge, diminishing specific lexical value and moving toward a generalized study of the poetics of the utterance. 

Sound: Daniel Stern

Sound Editing: Maia Chao

Voices: Timothy Riker, Miled Faiza, Mirena Christoff, Jen Ma, David Randl, Jaap Ruoff, Youenn Kervennic, Silja, Vangelis Calotychos, Kaksha Barman, Matteo Iudice, Hiroshi Tajima, Go Eun Jeong, Lung-Hua Hu (Gail), Thomas Ma, Dikshyant Rai, Mona Delgado, Iraj Anvar,  Magdalena Harrison, Vladimir Golstein, Anastasiia Kisurina, Ana Alejandre-Lara, María García Lopez, Kelvin Kiarie, Tida Osotsapa, Ercan Balci, Tugba Yildirim, Tung Tran

Special thanks to: Brown University Language Departments

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