SRPP: Lexical stress modulates lenition: The case of palato-alveolar affricates in Italian

Bowei Shao (DEC, ENS)
05 avril 2024, 14h0015h30

The outcome of synchronic velar palatalization in Italian before [-i] is described to be either a palato-alveolar affricate in most northern varieties, e.g. [‘mɔnako] – [‘mɔnatʃi] (‘monk’ Sg. and Pl.) or an alveolar fricative in Tuscan varieties as well as in certain central and southern varieties, e.g., [‘mɔnako] – [‘mɔnaʃi] [Bertinetto, 2010; Marotta & Vannelli, 2021]. This study documents an ongoing lenition process affecting the outcome of velar palatalization in speakers of the ‘affricate’ varieties of Italian. We present acoustic and articulatory data (EMA) from 15 speakers showing a significant degree of deaffrication [Calabrese, 2005] in these sequences, which has both a temporal and a spatial component and that it is further modulated by the position of the consonant with respect to lexical stress. Our results demonstrate that far-from-stress affricates are more lenited, both temporally and spatially than post-tonic ones, and highlight the dynamic nature of synchronic lenition in Italian, particularly in the deaffrication process.  We will present how these patterns of lenition manifest in acoustic and articulatory parameters, including (i) the duration of the consonants, (ii) the rms amplitude of the consonants, (iii) tongue trajectories and tongue postions. Overall, our study underscores the importance of considering the role of stress in the phonetic triggering – or blocking – of variation and change.

Bertinetto, P.M. (2010) Fonetica italiana, (eds. Simone R., Berruto G., d’Achille, P.), Enciclopedia  dell’Italiano, Rome, Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana.

Calabrese A. (2005) Markedness and Economy in a Derivational Model of Phonology, Berlin, De Gruyter.

Marotta G., Vanelli L. (2021) Fonologia e prosodia dell’italiano, Rome, Carocci Editore.

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13 juin 2024

Le LPP fête ses 50 ans

Le 13 juin 2024, le Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie (CNRS & Sorbonne Nouvelle) commémorera ses 50 ans d’existence (1973-2023).