With great clarity Ann Peters has summarized the way we have been viewing
‘fillers’ from the time they were considered a nuisance for seriously studying
the development of language; the different roles they fulfill, depending on the
developmental stage; and important open questions that should bring our
understanding of fillers ahead. She notes that the reason for having ignored
fillers for quite a while is that ‘they do not fit neatly into linguist's notions
about ‘modules’ of language because at the very least they straddle preconceived boundaries.’ In fact, it is not a coincidence that researchers began
to develop an interest for such neglected entities, as the interfaces of grammar
began to play a central role in our understanding of language architecture.
Being at the crossroads of phonology, morphology and syntax, fillers resist a
rigidly compartmentalized view of language.
Although interest in fillers has grown amazingly, we definitely need more
detailed descriptions of filler production and development, in order to be able
to distill individual and language specific trends. On this note, I want to
emphasize some of the general features of early fillers and argue that they
neither support nor justify the assumption of a pregrammatical stage. On the
contrary, their very presence argues against it.