In linguistics, pausa (Latin for "break", from Greek "παῦσις" pausis "stopping, ceasing"[1][2]) is the hiatus between prosodic units.


Some sound laws specifically operate only in pausa. For example, certain phonemes may be pronounced differently at the beginning or the end of a word if no other word precedes or follows within the same prosodic unit, as in the citation form. That is the case with the final-obstruent devoicing of German, Turkish, Russian, and other languages whose voiced obstruent consonants are devoiced pre-pausa and before voiceless consonants.

The opposite environment is relevant in Spanish; its voiced fricatives become stops post-pausa and after nasals. Such environments are often termed pre-pausal and post-pausal, respectively. The phrases in pausa and pausal form are often taken to mean at the end of a prosodic unit, in pre-pausal position, as pre-pausal effects are more common than post-pausal effects.


In English, the last stressed syllable before a pausa receives tonic stress, giving the illusion of a distinction between primary and secondary stress. In dialects of English with linking or intrusive R (a type of liaison), the r is not realized in pausa even if the following word begins in a vowel. Similarly, French liaison does not operate in pausa.

English words that have weak and strong forms are realized as strong after and often also before a pausa.

In Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, and other Semitic languages and in Egyptian, pausa affects grammatical inflections. In Arabic, short vowels, including those carrying case, are dropped before a pausa, and the gender is modified. The Arabic alphabet has a letter ة (tāʾ marbūṭa تاء مربوطة) for the feminine that is classically pronounced [h] in pausa but [t] in liaison. In Biblical Hebrew, /laχ/ (לָךְ) is the general feminine form of 'to you' but also the pausal masculine form.[3]

In Spanish, voiced fricative/approximants [β̞, ð̞, ɣ̞, ʝ̞] are pronounced as stops [b, d, ɡ, ɟʝ] after a pausa, as well as after a nasal.

In Tuscan, the full infinitive form of the verb occurs only pre-pausa.

In Kombe, a word-final high tone becomes low or downstepped in pausa.

In Mehri, emphatic consonants become ejectives pre-pausa.[4]

See also


  1. pausa, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
  2. παῦσις, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus
  3. cf. Elisha Qimron (2007), Aharon Maman; Steven E. Fassberg; Yohanan Breuer (eds.), "The Nature of Pausal Forms", Sha‘arei Lashon: Studies in Hebrew, Aramaic and Jewish Languages Presented to Moshe Bar-Asher, vol. 1 (in German), Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, pp. 92–106, 95-99.
  4. Watson & Bellem, "Glottalisation and neutralisation", in Hassan & Heselwood, eds, Instrumental Studies in Arabic Phonetics, 2011.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.