International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 269

Full Length Research Paper

Pausing preceding and following to in to-infinitives of Obama’s G-20 summit speech in London: Read vs spontaneous speech

Bilal Genç1*, Yonca Özkan2 and ErdoÄŸan Bada2
  1ELT Department of the University of Inonu, Malatya, Turkey. 2ELT Department of the University of Çukurova, Turkey
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 November 2010
  •  Published: 30 November 2010



Research on pausing in read and spontaneous speech has been the concern of researchers in the past few decades. While elicited data reveals that in read speech pauses preceding heads of phrases are produced considerably longer by native speakers of English than pauses following heads in read speech, the situation tends to differ in spontaneous speech. Based on this premise, this study reports on President Obama’s audio recording of the speech he made in the G-20 Summit in London in 2009, thus aiming to describe different silent pausing strategies, as they were employed by the President during his address to an international community. The recordings of both the first part of the speech he made during the opening of his address, assumed as a recitation of previously written text and during question-answer session, when he spontaneously responded to questions of international journalists were measured in milliseconds. Measurement was conducted utilizing Goldwave, the sound analyzing software. Each part was analyzed separately in terms of pauses preceding and following the to particle in to-infinitive phrases, and later, a comparison between the two types, read and spontaneous, was made in order to observe any potential differences/similarities between the two types of speeches. Obtained results display significant differences between pausing preceding and following to in read speech, in that the to particle was kept intact with the infinitive phrase while in spontaneous speech, preceding and following pauses did not display any statistically significant differences in terms of duration.


Key words: Pausing, prosody, speech, teaching speaking/reading, principles and parameters theory.