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A Phonetic Investigation into «Raddoppiamento sintattico» in Sienese Italian


Mary Stevens

This book studies the linguistic phenomenon of «Raddoppiamento sintattico» (RS), the post-lexical lengthening in Italian of word-initial consonants following certain words, e.g. a [k:] asa ‘at home’. Linguists have long sought describe exactly where and why RS occurs. Based on naturally occurring speech recorded in Siena, Tuscany, this book provides detailed phonetic information on what happens when RS occurs as well as its interactions with other phenomena in natural speech such as lenition and pausing. This study relates this phonetic detail to existing phonological models of RS, vowel length and syllable structure in Italian. The most important subject of the book is the fine-grained description of stops in RS contexts, which are shown to be optionally preaspirated – a phenomenon typically associated with only a few languages outside of Scandinavia. The book considers in detail the potential role of preaspiration in signaling consonant length in this variety of Italian and in doing so serves as a useful model for other laboratory phonology investigations into connected speech processes.


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1.Introduction and overview 17


17 1. Introduction and overview 1.1. Introduction and rationale for the investigation of RS This book describes a first acoustic phonetic investigation into Raddoppiamento sintattico, a process of word-initial consonant length- ening, in naturally occurring spontaneous speech. Essentially the aim is to provide detailed phonetic information about the mechanisms of RS and how it interacts with other phenomena operative in natural speech (e.g. pausing, intervocalic lenition processes). In doing so, we will see that the facts of RS are not straightforward, not only in terms of where it applies and what happens when it does, but also what motivates the process in the first place. Raddoppiamento sintattico (hereafter RS) refers to the post-lexical lengthening in Italian of word-initial consonants following certain words, known as RS-triggers, e.g. a [k:]asa ‘at home’. The phenomenon occurs with differing distributions in most Central and Southern varieties of Italian, including the Standard language. Importantly, at least for Central varieties spoken in Tuscany and much of Lazio there are traditionally considered to be two types of RS: stress-conditioned RS and unstressed RS, both of which are analysed in the present investigation. These two types are shown in Table 1.1. RS type Triggered by Example Stress-conditioned All polysyllabic oxytones farò [b:]ene ‘I’ll do well’ All stressed monosyllables sto [b:]ene ‘I’m good’ Unstressed Some unstressed monosyllables a [l:]ui ‘to him’ Some penult. stressed polysyllables come [t:]e ‘like you’ Table 1.1. The two kinds of RS in Standard Italian, as traditionally described (e.g. Loporcaro...

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