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

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


Quantifying the Range of Vowel Reduction in Italian

Edda Farnetani (1), M. Grazia Busà (2)

(1) Istituto di Fonetica del CNR, Padova, Italy
(2) Università di Bologna, Italy

New phonological accounts view vowel deletion as the endpoint of a gradient articulatory reduction process rather than the outcome of phonological rules. Languages considered as belonging to different rhythmic types can be seen as sharing the same spatiotemporal reduction process, though at different degrees and frequencies, in a continuum from full to deleted vowels. Our study was designed to locate Italian along this continuum. The speech material was collected to test the main factors which have been reported to favor or inhibit reduction/deletion in the languages where it has been studied. The results indicate that in Italian, cases of apparent deletion are limited to 2%, and are restricted to specific vowels or consonantal contexts. For both deletion and durational reduction, the favoring factors are stress, vowel quality, consonant context,and speech rate, which confirms that they are part of the same reduction process. The data suggest that Italian is a non-reducing language.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Farnetani, Edda / Busà, M. Grazia (1999): "Quantifying the range of vowel reduction in Italian", In ICPhS-14, 491-494.