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Sull’interfaccia fonetica-fonologia: l’assimilazione di sonorità nei dialetti emiliani come regola di implementazione fonetica

Edoardo Cavirani


Recent studies show that linguistic perception is conditioned by phonology. In this study, this claim is tested against data coming from a set of Emilia dialects (Italy), which are reported to show regressive voicing assimilation (RVA). The hypothesis is that, in the case RVA is part of the phonological competence of the relevant speakers, consonant clusters whose segments display opposite voicing specification are misperceived as showing the same specification. This hypothesis is tested by means of a perception experiment, which followed the collection and acoustic analysis of production data. The analysis of both the production data and the perception experiment results show that RVA is less systematic than suggested by the relevant literature. Indeed, cases of RVA underapplication and partial (de)voicing can be found. Similarly, RVA is shown to variably condition perception: in the 58,54% of the cases, the participants perceive [b] instead of /p/ when latter is followed by a voiced plosive. The comparison with the perception results of a control group of Ukrainian speakers (81,2% of misperception) shows that RVA occurs in Ukrainian and Emilian with two different grammatical status: while in the former it is a categorical phonological rule, in the latter it represents a phonetic implementation process applying at the phonetics-phonology interface.


phonetics-phonology interface; regressive voicing assimilation; Emilian dialects; BiPhon

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