Inst. for Speech and Lang. Sci., NYU, 719 Broadway, 5th fl., New York, NY 10003
When Spanish speakers repeat words or phrases in discourse, some repetitions are due to false starts or hesitations while others are used for emphasis or clarity. These will be referred to as ``hesitations'' and ``emphasis'' repetitions, respectively. Although the purpose of the repetition can often be determined from discourse context or part of speech, this study shows that there are also prosodic cues that serve to distinguish the two types. The speech data consist of all repetitions uttered by a male Colombian speaker over the course of a 1-h spontaneous conversations. The following acoustic information was obtained for each utterance and its repetition: duration, peak amplitude, average amplitude, and duration of any intervening pause. Pauses occur more often and tend to be longer in hesitation repetitions. Contrary to previously reported findings for English, however, a pause is frequently not present. The first element of the hesitation repetition tends to be longer than the second. Amplitude does not appear to differentiate the two types of repetitions. The results suggest that durations is the most important cue for distinguishing between types of repetitions.