This book addresses the problem of word-initial gemination (raddoppiamento sintattico) in Italian, a popular topic of phonological study. Incorporating data from various
Italian dialects along with historical evidence to enhance our picture of this process, the analysis accounts for the complexities of the phenomenon, including the different (and seemingly unrelated) environments, as well as the varied behaviour in the dialects, using Optimality Theory. The interaction of word-initial gemination with lenition, stress and vowel length illuminates these very processes and the phonological constraints that drive them. Finally, the historical development of the process is explored and incorporated into the OT analysis.
The dissertation will be of interest not only to
Italianists and Romance scholars, but to phonologists, historians and generalists as well.