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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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3.RS blocked and unblocked: an auditory perceptual (anddescriptive acoustic) study 89


89 3. RS blocked and unblocked: an auditory perceptual (and descriptive acoustic) study 3.1. Introduction and overview This chapter presents the results of an auditory analysis of RS sequences that occurred in the corpus of spontaneous Sienese speech. There are two main components to the auditory analysis. The first consists of an analysis of the interaction between RS and other phonetic phenomena operative in natural speech, i.e. which particular phenomena block RS and how they work. The focus is on instances where phonetic phrase breaks intervene in RS sequences - their relationship to structural phrase boundaries or semantic context is not addressed in any detail.43 The aim of this component is to provide some detailed qualitative and quantitative evidence of phonetic phrase breaks, and their impact upon predicted RS sequences. The second component of this chapter focuses on RS sequences where no blocking factor occurs, providing some detailed quantitative information regarding the actual frequency of RS in naturally occurring speech. The chapter is organized as follows: §3.2 provides the necessary background to the auditory component to the present investigation – as distinct from the acoustic analysis that forms the basis of the following four chapters. §3.3 outlines the methods, including the speech material (§3.3.1) and the identification of potential RS sequences in the data (§3.3.2). In §3.3.3 the methods of the auditory analysis are outlined, before focusing on two kinds of blocking phenomena, phonological and phonetic, in §3.3.4 and §3.3.5, respectively, and the auditory and acoustic phonetic criteria used for their...

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