Phonological Aspects of Hesitation Disfluencies

Vered Silber-Varod, Tel Aviv University School of Jewish Studies

An effective approach to the study of prosody in spoken language seeks to identify prosodic patterns and their communicative values, and to subsequently find a correlation between these prosodic patterns and other layers of linguistic structure. The present research strives to define a single prosodic boundary pattern: the boundary tone of hesitation disfluencies in spontaneous Israeli Hebrew. This entails uncovering the phonological environments in which they occur. Results show two distinct domains for such disfluencies with regard to word-level phonology: word-final syllables and appended e vowels that are inserted after a word, but within the same intonation unit. Statistically significant relations were found between these domains and the phonological structures of the disfluent syllables.