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Academic Paper


Title: Gestural coordination of Italian word-initial clusters: the case of ‘impure s’
Author: Anne Hermes
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://phonetik.phil-fak.uni-koeln.de/143.html
Institution: Institut für Linguistik - Phonetik, Universität zu Köln
Author: Doris Mücke
Institution: Universität zu Köln
Author: Martine Grice
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.coli.uni-sb.de/~mgrice/
Institution: Universität zu Köln
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Subject Language: Italian
Abstract: We report on an articulatory study which uses an electromagnetic articulograph to investigate word-initial consonant clusters in Italian. In particular, we investigate clusters involving a sibilant, such as in spina ‘thorn’. The status of the sibilant in such clusters, referred to as ‘impure s’, is an unresolved problem for the syllable phonology of Italian. Coordination patterns of the gestural targets of consonantal and vocalic gestures reveal a structural difference between obstruent–liquid clusters, e.g. /pr/, and sibilant–obstruent clusters, e.g. /sp/. Whereas in /pr/, both /p/ and /r/ have distinct coordination patterns as compared to either /p/ or /r/ as a single consonant in the same (word-initial) position, this is not the case for /sp/. Here the /p/ patterns like a single consonant: /p/ in spina patterns with /p/ in Pina (proper name). Thus, although /s/ in spina constitutes a word onset, there is evidence against it being part of a syllable onset.

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This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 30, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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