This book investigates various phenomena affecting both stressed and unstressed vowels in Romance languages. Viola Miglio constructs a synchronic analysis of the influence of stress or lack thereof in Romance languages using Optimality Theory. The author also applies the same tools to the vowel changes that occurred during the English Great Vowel Shift.
Using examples from Catalan, Mantuan, and Portuguese, this book analyzes vowel reduction, loss, as well as contrast neutralization, which involves a change of vowel quality in stressless syllables favoring vowels that are maximally distinguishable from one another. This analysis provides classifications of vowel reduction phenomena through the interaction of markedness constraints, markedness cooccurrence constraints, and faithfulness and positional faithfulness constraints.