Vol. 58 No. 2 (2020)

Rhotic degemination in Rome Italian

Rosalba Nodari
Università degli studi di Siena
Chiara Meluzzi
Università degli studi di Pavia

Published 2020-11-12


  • rhotics,
  • gemination,
  • Rome Italian,
  • quantitative analysis,
  • qualitative analysis


In this paper we analyse if, and how, Roman speakers produce rhotics degemination in RI. 10 speakers from Rome participated to a sentence-reading task, with 70 sentences of equal length and controlled prosodic contour containing one token with a singleton and/or geminate /r/, in stressed and/or unstressed condition. 700 tokens were annotated following the protocol by Celata et al. (2016), classifying rhotics as either taps, trills, approximants or fricatives according to their spectrogram realization. For quantitative analysis, we relied on preceding vowel and consonant duration to test the consonant gemination (Argiolas 1995). Results show that geminated rhotics were longer than singleton rhotics, and the same hold true for preceding vowel duration. Qualitative analysis shows, instead, a more complex picture. Intervocalic geminate rhotics seem to allow a greater range of possibilities: they can be realized mainly as trills, but approximants, fricatives, taps, and combined realizations (trill or tap with a fricative appendix) are found too. However, a great within-speaker variation has also been observed.


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