Sentencia Interruptus: The Texas Pause

I’ve actually never heard anyone talk about this, so it’s up to me to break the news to the world about this phenomenon. It can be a monumental problem, if you don’t know about it, understand it, and adhere to its rule. “It” is, and I believe I’ve aptly named it, Sentencia Interruptus, or commonly known (or soon will be) as the Texas Pause. Problems can arise in communications between husbands and wives, employers and their employees, teachers and students, and others, if one of the parties is unaware of this regional dialectic/linguistic idiosyncracy.

You’ve heard of never being able to get a word in edge-wise? This is similar, except untold paragraphs and unexpressed thoughts are now floating out in the universe, never to be heard from again- all because of the Texas Pause. How does this happen? Typically native Texans possess a speech pattern in which they will express a thought, pause for 3 or 4 seconds (sometimes longer) mentally preparing their concluding thought (we like to plan our conclusions for maximum effect.) Unfortunately, the other person in the conversation will jump in and start talking before the first person is finished. I know you’d never be guilty of thinking ahead about what you’re going to say, instead of listening, but that’s not the only problematic thing about this.

There are thousands of frustrated Texans who had profound things with which to conclude, who never had the chance, because someone else barged in, unaware of the Texas Pause. Can you imagine what brilliant ideas we, as a society, have probably lost as a result of this travesty of dialect? How many spouses have resorted to saying, “You never listen to me”? How many employers miss the “…and their new branch wants to order 100,000 more widgets than last month”? How many teachers pivot and point to another student while the first student to answer still had words stuck between the mind and tongue, choking on the fact that the incongruency of an incomplete thought has made them look really stupid? How many Texans have skipped dessert in a restaurant because the waiter or waitress shifted their gaze to the next patron for their order? I ask you, is this fair?

Because of the world’s ignorance of the Texas Pause, we are losing valuable thoughts, educational opportunities, industrial productivity, and cherry cobblers by the millions. Please put a stop to this madness. Tell everyone you know about the Texas Pause…………………………………. and let’s make this world a sweeter and more complete place in which to live. Pause and say “No!” to Sentencia Interruptus. Countless thoughts could be saved if you will only listen.

In October of 2005, then Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, on national television, admitted to having the Texas Pause.

In an interview with Fox News, Miers said, “I pause, before I speak.” Sentencia Interruptus reared it’s head, once again, as she appeared to correct the interviewer. Telling someone you pause before you speak is a learned assertiveness among those with the Texas Pause. Many others may, now, come forward to admit they have this, which will foster understanding throughout the world, where there has been none, yet. That might be a good thing, considering the international ramifications of any misunderstanding, especially when there’s a Texan in the White House.

© 2005 Dianne James


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