Vol. 50 No. 1 (2012)

Tra fonetica articolatoria e sociolinguistica: il caso dell’assimilazione di luogo nei nessi nasale + occlusiva velare in italiano

Silvia Calamai
Università di Siena - Viale Cittadini 33 - 52100 Arezzo (Italy)
Chiara Celata
Scuola Normale Superiore - Piazza dei Cavalieri 7 - 56126 Pisa (Italy)

Published 2012-01-16


  • nasal clusters,
  • place assimilation,
  • sociophonetics,
  • electropalatography


In this paper, the process of nasal place assimilation in /nk/, /ng/ clusters in Italian is discussed from a unified perspective which takes into account not only the articulatory detail (as attested in recent electropalatographic studies on the subject), but also the sociolinguistic aspects of (ng) production in some Romance and Germanic languag- es. Diachronic preferences in the development of homorganic clusters from Latin to Romance and typological generalizations referring to the phonological status and the phonotactic limitations in the distribution of the velar nasal are also considered. Cross- linguistic variability and articulatory gradience, as manifested in multiple phonetic influences exerting over large constituents, are shown to be problematic for phonologi- cal theory as well as for descriptive accounts of nasal place assimilation in Italian. In- vestigations in the stylistic domain are proposed to be of particular relevance in order to uncover aspects of systematic variation in /nk/, /ng/ production.