Final lengthening and pause duration in three dialects of Spanish. Rao, R. In Selected Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology, pages 69–82, Somerville, MA, 2010. Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Final lengthening and pause duration in three dialects of Spanish [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
The present study examines whether the duration of pauses correlates with final lengthening in three domains in Spanish: final word, final syllable, and final stressed syllable. The main findings reveal that final lengthening occurs in all three constituent types both in preboundary and in prepausal situations. The prepausal condition is conducive to increased lengthening of all three constituents involved, which could be a strategy to compensate for decreased intensity at the ends of phrases, or a method of increasing planning time for the production of upcoming ideas. Despite the fact that pauses in general affect final lengthening more than cases with no pause, in this study increased lengthening correlates with PPH boundaries, or shorter pauses. Therefore, for Spanish, there is not some set of cues that indicate stronger or higher ranked phrase boundaries (as seen for European Portuguese), but rather the same cues may function differently in order to cue different phrase boundaries and provide different pragmatic and communicative functions. The empirical findings of the study have theoretical implications as well. It is suggested that combinatory effects of phonetic cues may signal stronger PPH boundaries. The same could be the case for IPs, which implies that each type of phrase may have subcategories based on strength, similar to what is suggested by Frota (2000) for EP.

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