Whamit!

The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 3/14 - Sam Steddy

Speaker: Sam Steddy
Title: How Palatalisation in Italian Verbs is a Regular Process
Date/Time: Wednesday, Mar 14, 5-7p
Location: 32D-831

Italian has a rule of palatalisation transforming velar stops /k,g/ into affricates [tʃ,dʒ] before front vowels /i,e/. At the boundary between verb stem and agreement suffix, though, the rule does not apply consistently – it can be blocked (underapply) or can overapply to forms suffixed by non-triggering vowels. In contrast to Pirelli & Battista (2000), I propose a phonological analysis that explains when each of these three patterns applies, and give a further explanation of a lexical gap in which there are no Italian infinitive forms that underpalatalise. The analysis employs a base-to-derivative relationship in which segments in a derived verb must match for stridency with stressed correspondents in the verb’s infinitive. Infinitives, having no base, palatalise as expected from their conjugation class suffix. Results from a wug-type experiment show the process is productive in the synchronic grammar.

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