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LINGUIST List 19.2175

Tue Jul 08 2008

Diss: Phonetics/Phonology: Stevens: 'A Phonetic Investigation into ...'

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        1.    Mary Stevens, A Phonetic Investigation into Raddoppiamento sintattico in Sienese Italian Speech


Message 1: A Phonetic Investigation into Raddoppiamento sintattico in Sienese Italian Speech
Date: 07-Jul-2008
From: Mary Stevens <mesunimelb.edu.au>
Subject: A Phonetic Investigation into Raddoppiamento sintattico in Sienese Italian Speech
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Institution: University of Melbourne
Program: School of Languages and Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Mary E Stevens

Dissertation Title: A Phonetic Investigation into Raddoppiamento sintattico in Sienese Italian Speech

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Phonetics
                            Phonology

Subject Language(s): Italian (ita)

Dissertation Director:
Janet Fletcher
John Hajek

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates Raddoppiamento sintattico (RS), the conditioned
lengthening of word-initial consonants e.g. tre [k:]ase 'three houses'.
Based on Sienese Italian (6 speakers), it is the first detailed phonetic
investigation into RS in spontaneous speech.

An auditory perceptual analysis of predicted RS word1-word2 sequences shows
consonant lengthening is not automatic after RS trigger words: doubling can
be blocked by phonetic phenomena, and is optional rather than obligatory.

In contrast to most sources on RS, which take its domain of application to
be the structurally derived Phonological Phrase (following Nespor & Vogel
1986), this thesis takes the domain of RS to be the (pre-theoretical)
phonetic phrase, following Camilli (1941). It is argued that RS is not
sensitive to Phonological Phrase boundaries, and will instead optionally
occur unless blocked by an audible phonetic pause.

An acoustic phonetic analysis of stress-conditioned RS sequences (e.g.
città [p:]iccola 'small city') shows, amongst other findings, that phrasal
destressing is frequent in spontaneous speech, e.g. città [ʧitˈta] 'city' >
città piccola [ʧittapˈpik:ola] 'small city', but that doubling still
occurs. The implications of this finding for the claim that doubling is
directly triggered by the presence of phonetic stress (e.g. Agostiniani
1992, Payne 2000) are discussed. This study is the first since Korzen
(1980) to include detailed phonetic analysis of the unstressed kind of RS,
which involves only a small closed class of words, e.g. a [mm]ilano 'to
Milan', qualche [vv]olta 'sometimes'. A major research question addressed
throughout the thesis is the extent to which, if at all, the two kinds of
RS can, in practice, be distinguished. Close comparison between the present
phonetic results for stress-conditioned and unstressed RS sequences, as
well as other independent evidence, leads to the rejection of Korzen's
(1980) argument that the unstressed RS trigger words are 'strong' and
should be incorporated into the reportedly regular stress-conditioned
phenomenon. Results point to overlap between unstressed and stressed RS,
but for the opposite reason to that suggested by Korzen (1980): it is the
stress-conditioned sequences that come to resemble their unstressed
counterparts (through phrasal destressing, noted above), and not vice versa.

A completely unexpected outcome is the discovery that RS-affected
consonants involve preaspiration, a very rare phenomenon not previously
reported for Italian e.g. tre [hk]ase 'three houses'. Also unexpected is
the overlap between RS and Gorgia toscana (GT), a lenition process
operative in Sienese (e.g. la [h]arne 'the meat' v. Standard Italian la
[k]arne). This overlap, in terms of the distribution and phonetic
realisation, was entirely unforseen as GT and RS are always assumed to be
both mutually exclusive, and completely phonetically distinct in the
literature (e.g. Nespor & Vogel 1986, Cravens 2002). The implications of
these and other issues arising from the phonetic data for existing
descriptions of RS are discussed. In particular, duration values favour the
notion of maximally trimoraic, rather than bimoraic syllables in Italian
(following Hajek 2000), in order to accommodate the fact that word-final
vowels are predictably longer when lexical stress is realised, and RS
consonant lengthening will still (optionally) occur.



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