This study reports on a number of highly significant differences found between English, German, and Dutch hesitation markers. English and German native speakers used significantly more vocalic-nasal hesitation markers than Dutch native speakers, who used predominantly vocalic hesitation markers. English hesitation markers occurred most frequently when preceded by silence and followed by a lexical item, or when surrounded by silence. German and Dutch hesitation markers occurred most frequently surrounded by lexical items. In Dutch, vocalic-nasal hesitation markers dominated only when surrounded by silence. Vocalic-nasal hesitation markers dominated in all positions in English and German, although in the former language this was more salient than in the latter. Nasal hesitation markers were used significantly more frequently in German than in English or Dutch. In addition to overall language trends, speaker-specific differences, especially within German and Dutch, were observed. These results raise questions in terms of the symptom versus signal hypotheses regarding the function of hesitation markers.
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