LINGUIST List 13.465

Tue Feb 19 2002

Sum: Mobile Diphthongs in Italian

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. Bart van der Veer, Mobile diphthongs in Italian

Message 1: Mobile diphthongs in Italian

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 19:25:13 +0100
From: Bart van der Veer <>
Subject: Mobile diphthongs in Italian

Dear linguists, cari linguisti,

I would like to thank the following persons who replied to my query posted
on 19 Dec. 2001 (Qs. 12.3134) about the use of mobile diphthongs in Modern
Standard Italian: (in chronological order:) M. Tjalve, A. Sans�, A. Bisetto,
P. Menzel, C. Soria, P.M. Bertinetto, G.C. Buoiano (I suppose the diphthong
is unstressed here...), E. Mellander, R. Viredaz, M. Santini, O. Brizio, L.
Minervini, J. Nicod (Palma), V. Cavalli-Sforza, G. Sabaduquia, F. Del Gobbo,
C. Vessella and M. Groll�.
The outcome was more or less what I expected. Although temporary grammars
and dictionaries still treat the phenomenon of the mobile diphthong
(dittongo mobile) as if it were some grammatical rule, the unstressed
vowel/stressed diphthong alternation (e.g. fuoco-focherello, muovo-moviamo)
seems no longer phonologically productive. If alternation takes place, this
is generally considered as archaic, literary or dialectal. However,
exceptions may occur even in the standard language.
Grazie a tutti e cordiali saluti!

Bart van der Veer
Hoger Instituut voor Vertalers en Tolken Antwerpen/Universiteit Leiden
Center for Linguistics

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