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Abstract

Although not all spoken language pauses are purposeful or functional, there is general agreement on the function and appropriate length and placement of pauses in English. Failing to conform to this agreement constitutes a pausing disfluency. In an interpreted environment, pauses do not generally detract from the discourse event, nor do they negatively impact the participants’ perception of one another, as long as the interpreter maintains generally acceptable pausing parameters (Fors, 2011; Heldner & Edlund, 2010; Krivokapi, 2007). Listeners of any communication event invariably form opinions about the speaker’s personality and make judgments about their character and background, forming a favorable or unfavorable attitude (Isham, 1986). Cokely (1981, 2007) refers to these judgments or attitudes as metannotative qualities: non-content characteristics that guide a listener’s overall impression of a speaker. This study investigated the effect pausing disfluencies have on a listener’s judgment of the speaker; specifically, the effect of disfluent pausing on a listener’s judgment of a speaker in an ASL-English interpreted text. Relevant to practicing interpreters, findings indicate pausing disfluencies in an ASL-English interpreted text negatively affect the listener’s judgment of the ASL user.

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