Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Consonant weakening in Florentine Italian: A cross-disciplinary approach to gradient and variable sound change

  • Christina Villafaña Dalcher (a1)
Abstract

Few acoustic studies of the intervocalic consonant lenition in central Italian dialects (a process known as Gorgia Toscana) have been undertaken. This study examines speech data from Florentine Italian in order to describe the process of Gorgia Toscana quantitatively and to assess the roles of physiological, perceptual, phonological, and social factors in the process. Results of acoustic and statistical analysis indicate gradient and variable output, with certain patterns occurring in the variation. The observations that emerge from the data cannot all be accounted for if Gorgia Toscana is characterized as a purely phonetic, phonological, or socially driven process of sound change. Rather, different aspects of the process are attributed to different motivators: gradience and velar preference to articulator movements, resistance of nonvelar lenition to perceptual constraints, targeting of a natural class and categorical weakening to abstract featural representations, and intersubject variation in velar lenition to external social factors.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Agostiniani, L., & Giannelli, L. (1990). Considerazioni per un analisi del parlato toscano. In Cortelazzo, M. A. & Mioni, A. M. (eds.), L'italiano Regionale, Atti del XVIII Congresso Internazionale di Studi SLI. Roma: Bulzoni. 219237.
Albano Leoni, F., Bertinetto, P. M., Locchi, D., & Refice, M. (2000). AVIP—Archivio delle varietà di italiano parlato. ftp://ftp.cirass.unina.it/cirass/avip.
Allen, W. S. (1978). The names of the letters of the Latin alphabet (Appendix C). In Vox Latina—A guide to the pronunciation of classical Latin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Antelmi, D. (1989). Caratteristiche fonetiche e morfosintattiche nella varietà fiorentina di italiano. Rivista Italiana di Dialettologia Scuola Società Territorio 13:4773.
Ash, S. (2002). Social class. In Chambers, J. K., Trudgill, P., & Schilling-Estes, N. (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change. Oxford: Blackwell.
Bafile, L. (1997). La spirantizzazione toscana nell'ambito della teoria degli elementi. In AA., VV. Autori vari-(Italian “various author”), Studi linguistici offerti a G. Giacomelli dagli amici e dagli allievi. Firenze: Unipress. 2738.
Balise, R. R., & Diehl, R. L. (1994). Some distributional facts about fricatives and a perceptual explanation. Phonetica 51:99110.
Bertinetto, P. M., & Loporcaro, M. (2005). The sound pattern of Standard Italian as compared with the varieties spoken in Florence, Milan and Rome. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (2):131151.
Boersma, P. (1993). Accurate short-term analysis of the fundamental frequency and the harmonics-to-noise ratio of a sampled sound. Proceedings of the Institute of Phonetic Sciences Amsterdam 17:97110.
Boersma, P. (1998). Functional phonology: Formalizing the interactions between articulatory and perceptual drives. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.
Boersma, P & Weenink, D. (2006). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer (Version 4.4.12) [Computer program]. Retrieved February 24, 2006, from http://www.praat.org.
Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and symbolic power. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Browman, C. P., & Goldstein, L. (1990). Tiers in articulatory phonology, with some implications for casual speech. In Kingston, J. & Beckman, M. (eds.), Papers in laboratory phonology I: Between the grammar and physics of speechCambridge: Cambridge University Press. 341376.
Browman, C. P., & Goldstein, L. (1992). Articulatory phonology: An overview. Phonetica 49:155180.
Brown, G. (1977). Listening to spoken English. London: Longman.
Bucholtz, M. (1999). Why be normal?: Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls. Language and Society 28:203223.
de Certeau, M.. (1984). The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Clements, G. N. (1990). The role of the sonority cycle in core syllabification. In Kingston, J. & Beckman, M. (eds.), Papers in laboratory phonology I: Between the grammar and the physics of speechCambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cohen, J. (1998). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Contini, G. (1960). Per un'interpretazione strutturale della cosiddetta “gorgia toscana.” Boletim de Filologia 19:269281.
Cravens, T. (1984) Intervocalic consonant weakening in a phonetic-based strength phonology: Foleyan hierarchies and the gorgia toscana. Theoretical Linguistics 11:269310.
Cravens, T. (2000). Sociolinguistic subversion of a phonological hierarchy. Word 51 (1):119.
Cravens, T & Giannelli, L. (1995). Relative salience of gender and class in a situation of multiple competing norms. Language Variation and Change 7:261285.
Feagin, C. (1979). Variation and change in Alabama English: A sociolinguistic study of the white community. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Fujimura, O. & Erickson, D. (1997). Acoustic phonetics. In Hardcastle, W. J. & Laver, J. (eds.), The handbook of phonetic sciences. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Giannelli, L., & Cravens, T. (1997). Consonantal weakening. In Maiden, M. & Parry, M. (eds.), The dialects of Italy. New York: Routledge.
Giannelli, L., & Savoia, L. M. (1978). L'indebolimento consonantico in Toscana I. Rivista Italiana di Dialettologia 2:2558.
Giannelli, L.. (1979–80). L'indebolimento consonantico in Toscana II. Rivista Italiana di Dialettologia 3–4:39101.
I Grandi Dizionari: Hazon: inglese-italiano, italiano-inglese (2005). Milan: Garzanti.
Hall, R. A. Jr. (1949). A note on gorgia Toscana. Italica 26:6471.
Harris, J., & Urua, E.-A. (2001). Lenition degrades information: Consonant allophony in Ibibio. Speech, Hearing and Language: Work in Progress 13:72105.
Hayes, B. (1999). Phonetically-driven phonology: The role of optimality theory and inductive grounding. In Darnell, M., Moravscik, E., Noonan, M., Newmeyer, F., & Wheatly, Ka. (eds.), Functionalism and formalism in linguistics, volume I: General papers. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 243285.
Horvath, B. (1985). Variation in Australian English: The sociolects of Sydney. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hume, E., & Johnson, K. (2001). A model of the interplay of speech perception and phonology. In Hume, E. & Johnson, K. (eds.), The role of speech perception in phonology. New York: Academic Press.
Hyman, L. (1977). Phonologicization. In Juilland, A. (ed.), Linguistic studies presented to Joseph H. Greenberg. Saratoga, CA: Anma Libri. 407418.
Izzo, H. J. (1972). Tuscan and Etruscan. University of Toronto Romance Series, 20. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Janda, R. D. (2003). “Phonologization” as the start of dephoneticization—Or, on sound change and its aftermath: Of extension, generalization, lexicalization, and morphologization. In Joseph, B. & Janda, R. (eds.), The handbook of historical linguistics. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Janda, R. D & Joseph, B. D. (2003). Reconsidering the cannons of sound change: Towards a “Big Bang” theory. In Blake, B. & Burridge, K. (eds.), Selected papers from the 15th International Conference on Historical LinguisticsAmsterdam: John Benjamins. 205219.
Jongman, A., Wang, Y., & Kim, B. (2003). Contributions of sentential and facial information to perception of fricatives. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 46:13671377.
Kaiser, H. F. (1960). The application of electronic computers to factor analysis. Educational and Psychological Measurement 20:141151.
Kaye, J., Lowenstamm, J., & Vergnaud, J.-R. (1985). The internal structure of phonological elements: A theory of charm and government. Phonology Yearbook 2:305328.
Kirchner, R. (1998). An effort-based approach to consonant lenition. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles.
Kirchner, R. (2001). Phonological contrast and articulatory effort. In Lombardi, L. (ed.), Segmental phonology and optimality theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kirchner, R. (2004). Consonant lenition. In Hayes, B., Kirchner, R., & Steriade, D. (eds.), Phonetically based phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Labov, W. (1966). The social stratification of English in New York City. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Labov, W. (1972a). Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Labov, W. (1972b). Some principles of linguistic methodology. Language in Society, 1:97120.
Ladefoged, P. (2001). Vowels and consonants: an introduction to the sounds of the world's languages. Oxford: Blackwell.
Landau, S. & Everitt, B.S. (2003). A handbook of statistical analyses using SPSS. Boca Raton, FL: Chapman & Hall/CRC Press.
Lavoie, L. (2001). Consonant strength: Phonological patterns and phonetic manifestations. Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University.
Leech, N. L., Barrett, K. C., & Morgan, G. A. (2005). SPSS for intermediate statistics use and interpretation. 2nd ed.Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Lepschy, A. L. & Lepschy, G. (1977). The Italian language today. London: Hutchinson.
Lewis, A. (2001). Weakening of intervocalic /p, t, k/ in two Spanish dialects: Toward the quantification of lenition processes. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Maddieson, I. (1984). Patterns of sounds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Maddieson, I.. (2005). Bilabial and labio-dental fricatives in Ewe. In UC Berkeley Phonology Annual Lab Report (2005). 199215.
Marotta, G. (2001). Non solo spiranti. La “gorgia toscana” nel parlato di Pisa. L'Italia Dialettale 62 (1):2760.
Marotta, G.. (2003). Una rivisitazione acustica della ‘gorgiatoscana. In Leoni, F. Albano, Cutugno, F., Pettorino, M., & Savy, R. (eds.), Atti del Convegno Nazionale “Il parlato italiano.” CD-ROM. Naples: D'Auria Editore.
Miller, G. A., & Nicely, P. E. (1955). An analysis of perceptual confusions among some English consonants. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 27:338352.
Nespor, M., & Vogel, I. (1986). Prosodic phonology. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Foris.
Ohala, J. J. (1993). The phonetics of sound change. In Jones, C. (ed.), Historical linguistics: Problems and perspectives. London: Longman. 237278.
Ohala, J. J.. (1997). Aerodynamics of phonology. In Linguistics in the morning calm, selected papers from SICOL 1997, Linguistic Society of Korea. Seoul: Hanshin Publishing House. 9297.
Pacini, B. (1998). Il processo di cambiamento dell'indebolimento consonantico a Cortona: Studio sociolinguistico. Rivista Italiana di Dialettologia 22:1557.
Rohlfs, G. (1930). Vorlateinische Einflüsse in den Mundarten des heutigen Italiens? Germanisch-romanische Monatsschrift 18:3756.
Schilling-Estes, N. (2002). Field methods. In Chambers, J. K., Trudgill, P., & Schilling-Estes, N. (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change. Oxford: Blackwell.
Schilling-Estes, N., & Wolfram, W. (1999). Alternative models of dialect death: Dissipation vs. concentration. Language 75 (3):486521.
Shadle, C. H. (1997). The aerodynamics of speech. In Hardcastle, W. & Laver, J. (eds.), The handbook of phonetic sciences. Oxford: Blackwell.
Sorianello, P. (2001). Un'analisi acustica della “gorgia” fiorentina. L'Italia Dialettale 62 (1):6194.
Sorianello, P.. (2003a). Proprietà spettrali del rumore di frizione nel consonantismo fiorentino. In Leoni, F. Albano, Cutugno, F., Pettorino, M., & Savy, R. (eds.), Atti del Convegno Nazionale “Il parlato italiano.” CD-ROM. Naples: D'Auria Editore.
Sorianello, P.. (2003b). Spectral characteristics of voiceless fricative consonants in Florentine Italian. In Solé, M. J., Recasens, D., & Romero, J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic SciencesBarcelona. 30813084.
Stevens, K. N. (1997). Articulatory-acoustic-auditory relationships. In Hardcastle, W. & Laver, J. (eds.), The handbook of phonetic sciences. Oxford: Blackwell.
Stevens, K. N., & Blumstein, S. E. (1978). Invariant cues for place of articulation in stop consonants. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 64:13581368.
Sturtevant, E. H. (1947). An introduction to linguistic science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Trask, R. L. (1996). A dictionary of phonetics and phonology. London: Routledge.
Trudgill, P. (1974). The social differentiation of English in Norwich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Trudgill, P.. (1986). Dialects in contact. Oxford: Blackwell.
Trudgill, P.. (2002). Social differentiation. In Chambers, J. K., Trudgill, P., & Schilling-Estes, N. (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change. Oxford: Blackwell.
Vennemann, T. (1988). Preference laws for syllable structure and the explanation of sound change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Vogel, I. (1997). Prosodic phonology. In Maiden, M. & Parry, M. (eds.), The dialects of Italy. New York: Routledge. 5867.
Zec, D. (1995). Sonority constraints on syllable structure. Phonology 12:85129.
Zsiga, E. C. (1997). Features, gestures and Igbo vowels: An approach to the phonology/phonetics interface. Language 73 (2):227274.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language Variation and Change
  • ISSN: 0954-3945
  • EISSN: 1469-8021
  • URL: /core/journals/language-variation-and-change
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed