Bristol Centre for Linguistics news and events

Conference setting


Scheduled seminars

The Bristol Centre for Lingistics (BCL) runs a series of research seminars throughout the year. All seminars are free to attend.


Discourse markers, fillers and filled pauses: Psycho- and sociolinguistic perspectives

Date: 24-25 June 2020
Location: UWE Bristol

The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars working on so-called 'fillers' and filled pauses from psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic backgrounds. The last 25 to 30 years has seen an explosion of research and publications on discourse and pragmatic markers, and the development of the Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change network. Less work has been done to integrate psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic, or indeed multimodal, approaches to these phenomena, though many publications acknowledge the speech processing functions of fillers and filled pauses. These are the interdisciplinary gaps which the current workshop aims to address, hoping to begin a dialogue between scholars with different perspectives on these difficult-to-define items and to investigate their constructions and collostructions in spontaneous speech in English and other languages.
Invited plenary speakers:

The questions we will be posing:

  • Do discourse markers, fillers and/or filled pauses constitute 'constructions' ?
  • What characterises different discourse marker and filler constructions? Are there universals across different languages?
  • How do children acquire discourse markers and fillers?
  • How do second language learners acquire discourse markers and fillers? (Should they?)
  • What attitudes and ideologies surround discourse markers, fillers and filled pauses? (eg stereotypically considered to be non-standard and indicate less educated and less articulate speakers)
  • Are there conventionalised combinations of DMs, fillers and filled pauses and paralinguistic features such as High-Rise Terminals, raised eye-brows or rise-fall intonation?
  • Discourse markers, fillers and filled pauses in contact situations: MATter or PATtern?

We invite abstracts which address these questions and which provide empirical evidence in relation to:

  • the status of discourse markers, fillers and filled pauses
  • descriptive studies of filled pause collostructions
  • sociolinguistic aspects of  fillers and filled pauses
  • child and second language acquisition of fillers
  • the role of paralinguistic features in collostructions with DMs, fillers and filled pauses
  • bilingual filled pause collostructions in contact situations.

Please submit your 300-word abstract to Easy Chair by 31 January 2020.

For further information, please contact Dr Kate Beeching, email:

iMean conferences

The iMean 5 conference was held on 6-8 April 2017 at UWE Bristol. Find out more about the past iMean conferences.


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