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

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

Phonetically Conditioned Allomorphy of Functional Words in a Dialect of Southern Italy

Pietro Maturi (1), Stephan Schmid (2)

(1) University of Naples, Italy; (2) University of Zurich, Switzerland

This paper examines a particular kind of phonetic variation observed in the realization of articles and clitics in a dialect of Southern Italy. The examined bound morphs consist of single unstressed vowels, which appear to be phonologically underspecified with regard to height. The spectral characteristics of 157 tokens show that these vocalic segments form a continuum ranging from high to mid low vowels, whereas the normal inventory of unstressed vowels in this dialect only contains /i ´ a u/. In order to determine the factors underlying the apparently random allomorphy, the correlations between vowel quality and a number of variables are tested, among which the quality of the preceding and the following vowel, duration, and intensity. The theoretical status of the observed variation as well as a functional explanation of the lowering of unstressed vowels are discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Maturi, Pietro / Schmid, Stephan (1999): "Phonetically conditioned allomorphy of functional words in a dialect of Southern Italy", In ICPhS-14, 1393-1396.