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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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2.Background and framework for the phonetic analysis of RS 27


27 2. Background and framework for the phonetic analysis of RS 2.1. Defining Raddoppiamento sintattico (RS) Raddoppiamento sintattico (RS) refers to the lengthening of word-initial consonants in certain contexts, a process which occurs with differing distributions in most Central and Southern varieties of Italian, including the Standard language (Loporcaro 1997, Agostiniani 1992, Absalom & Hajek 1997). In a sequence word1-word2, RS-lengthening occurs when word1 is an RS trigger, and word2 begins with a consonant that can be lengthened. In Central Italy (Tuscany and Lazio), the RS trigger words are often divided into four types, as follows (based on Loporcaro 1997:1): (i) all polysyllabic oxytones farò [b:]ene ‘i’ll do [it] well’ (ii) all stressed monosyllables sto [b:]ene ‘I’m well’ (iii) some unstressed monosyllables a [l:]ui ‘to him’ (iv) some penultimate stressed polysyllables come [t:]e ‘like you’ Table 2.1. The four kinds of words that trigger RS in Standard Italian. Table 2.1 shows that the four types of RS trigger words can be collapsed into two main types of RS: stress-conditioned RS (i & ii), and unstressed RS (iii & iv), following Loporcaro (1997), Schmid (1999) and others. These scholars argue that a distinction between two kinds of RS is necessary in order to identify and account for all the words that can trig- ger consonant doubling in varieties of Italian. On the one hand, stress- conditioned RS triggers are considered to fall into a regular and productive class of words. The members of this class do not need to...

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