Vocalic Hesitations vs Vocalic Systems: A Cross-Language Comparison

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (2007)


centralization, duration, timbre, vocalic hesitation, vocalic systems


This paper deals with the acoustic characteristics of vocalic hesitations in a cross-language perspective. The underlying questions concern the "neutral" vs. language-dependent timbre of vocalic hesitations and the link between their vocalic quality and the phonemic system of the language. An additional point of interest concerns the duration effect on vocalic hesitations compared to intra-lexical vowels. Acoustic measurements have been carried out in American English, French and Spanish. Results on vocalic timbre show that hesitations (i) carry language-specific information; (ii) whereas often close to measurements of existing vowels, they do not necessarily collapse with them. Finally, (iii) duration variation affects the timbre of vocalic hesitation and a centralization towards a "neutral" realization is observed for decreasing durations.