Psycholinguistic insight in literature

“William coughed politely. ‘Er … hm …’ he said. This is what he did when he wanted to introduce a new subject. He managed to do it gracefully because it was his habit – and I believe this is typical of the men of his country – to begin every remark with long preliminary moans, as if starting the exposition of a completed thought cost him a great mental effort. Whereas, I am now convinced, the more groans he uttered before his declaration, the surer he was of the soundness of the proposition he was expressing.” (Umberto Eco, 1984, The name of the rose, p. 145)

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