14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Positional Effects on Stressed Vowel Duration in Standard Italian

Jan van Santen (1), Mariapaola D'Imperio (2)

(1) Bell Labs – Lucent Technologies, USA
(2) Department of Linguistics, The Ohio State University, USA

We investigate the effects of intra-word position on the duration of stressed vowels in open syllables in Italian. While traditional accounts claim that vowels in all non-final position are longer than vowels in word-final position [9], we find that only penultimate stressed vowels are longer, confirming the findings reported in [2]. In addition, we show that the duration values of final stressed vowels depend critically on measurement criteria. In word-final position, stressed vowels often present a heavily glottalized region, which can be included or not in the vowel. When included, the resulting vowel duration is similar to that of penultimate vowels. We also found that penultimate vowels in three-syllable words are longer than either initial or final vowels, which is different from what has been found for stressed vowels in other languages. These results have implications for multilingual text-to-speech synthesis, in particular for the importance of methodologies that do justice to language-unique prosodic patterns.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Santen, Jan van / D'Imperio, Mariapaola (1999): "Positional effects on stressed vowel duration in standard Italian", In ICPhS-14, 241-244.