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The Development of Latin Post-Tonic /Cr/ Clusters in Select Northern Italian Dialects

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Jeff Kilpatrick

The Development of Latin Post-Tonic /Cr/ Clusters in Select Northern Italian Dialects offers an explanation of the disparate outcomes of similar consonant clusters within several related Northern Italian dialects through application of optimality theory and frequency effects. It features a new approach to previously underrepresented phenomena in Italian dialectology in that it combines previously separated changes into one single theory. This volume is particularly useful for scholars within the fields of Romance languages and linguistics as well as for advanced students of the Italian language with an interest in dialects or advanced students of linguistics specializing in Romance languages or Italian.

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5 DELETION 55

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 CHAPTER 5 DELETION 5.0 Deletion As mentioned above, Piacentino shows deletion in certain clusters (cf. sö, suar, and sura r). Deletion, much like metathesis, appears to be quite random within the northern Italian dialects: 17a. Lat. PATREM >It. padre 17b. Lat. MATREM > It. madre Pm. pare Pm. mare Pc. pär Pc. mär Gn. poæ Gn. moæ *Ml. pàder *Ml. màder *Bo. pèder *Bo. mèder 18a. Lat. LIBRUM > It. libro 18b. Lat. LIBRAM > It. libbra Pm. lìber Pm. livra Pc. libar Pc. lira There is no phonological/phonetic reason in and of itself which can account for why some words change and others don’t in such phonetically similar environments as 6a and 6b. Also, the Piacentino examples in 17a and 17b are cited alongside padar and madar which, by strict phonological rules cannot be explained. Why do we see epenthesis in one outcome and deletion in another? Much like the cases of metathesis, there is a pattern to be detected, though not one that is readily explainable through existing theories. Instead, we need to turn to frequency effects as the impetus behind the changes (Ch. 5). Wilson (2001) explains deletion via Optimality Theory, which puts his approach in line with that of Webb & Bradley (2009). However, Wilson, through a ranking of the relatively broad constraints known as MAX (no deletion), DEP (no insertion/epenthesis), and NoWeakCons (a consonant not released by a vowel is weak or less  58 harmonic), accounts for deletion through a much simpler...

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