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Articulatory Coordination and Syllable Structure in Italian

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Anne Hermes

When we speak we do not articulate each sound one after the other like beads on a string. Instead, the movements of our articulators, such as the tongue and lips, overlap. These movements are coordinated in complex ways to produce syllables, words and phrases. This book is concerned with syllables. What is a syllable? There is general consensus that «sa», «pa» and «ra» are syllables. But what about «spa» or «spra»? The answer to this question is sought using a method investigating the coordination of tongue and lip movements. The results shed light on a long standing problem for syllable phonology in Italian, namely the syllabification of «s» when it occurs in a consonant cluster such as «sp» in «sport».

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