"Purely segmental descriptions fail to capture all the richness of the time- varying informational structure of speech."1 The present study aims to illuminate the syllabic status of word initial clusters on the basis of gestural coordination patterns. In the Articula- tory Phonology framework (Browman and Goldstein, 1986, 1988, 1992a, 2000), it is assumed that syllable structure is reﬂected in the coordination of articulatory gestures. A number of studies have shown that word ini- tial consonant clusters which form complex onsets show a different co- ordination pattern from those which do not. These studies have inves- tigated a range of languages which are independently known to have complex onsets (Browman and Goldstein, 1988 and Marin and Pouplier, 2010 for American English; (Goldstein et al., 2007 for Georgian; Marin, 2011 for Romanian) or only simple onsets (Goldstein et al., 2007 and Hermes et al., 2011 for Tashlhiyt Berber; Shaw et al., 2009 for Moroccan Arabic). The work here is focused on word initial clusters in Italian. In the phonol- ogy of this language, clusters such as /pr/ and /tr/ are uncontrover- sially analysed as complex onsets (e.g. - ’ﬁrst’, - ’three’). By contrast, the status of clusters containing a sibilant (/s/ or /z/ among others) is highly controversial (e.g. - ’thorn’, - ’s/he un- threads’). The sibilant in these clusters is referred to as ’impure s’. There is morphological evidence for this analysis. For instance, the deﬁnite ar- ticle is ’lo’ when a sibilant cluster follows ( - ’the...
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