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How is vowel production in Italian affected by geminate consonants and stress patterns?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2022

Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Università di Padova, Italy
Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Università di Padova, Italy
Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
*Corresponding author: Lucia Colombo, Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Università di Padova Via Venezia, 8 35143 Padova, Italy. E-mail:


Italian vowels have a shorter duration before a geminate than before a singleton consonant, but a longer duration in syllables carrying stress. We asked whether children can produce the differentiation in vowel duration in singleton/geminate contexts reported for adults and whether their production changes depending on position of primary stress. Italian children (three-to-six-year-olds) and adults performed a nonword repetition. Each nonword appeared in four contexts, with the stressed/unstressed vowel preceding/following the singleton/geminate: /paˈpaso/, /papˈpaso/, ˈpapaso/, /ˈpappaso/. Acoustic analyses on the duration of the vowel preceding (V1) and following (V2) the medial consonant showed a type of consonant by age group interaction: the difference in vowel duration between children and adults was greater for geminate than singleton contexts, and was greater when the vowel carried stress. When V1 carried stress, its duration was shorter in the geminate than in the singleton in adults and older children, not in younger children.

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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