The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 3/18 - Sam Steddy

Speaker: Sam Steddy
Title: Palatalisation and the Role of Morphological Bases Across the Italian Lexicon
Date/Time: Monday, Mar 18, 5pm
Location: 32-D831

I propose that a palatalisation rule in Italian misapplies because of base-to-derivative correspondence effects. In previous work I showed that the rule misapplies in verbal morphology because verbs stand in a stress-dependent correspondence relationship with the base from of their paradigm: under- or overpalatalisation result when the stressed syllable of their infinitive contains a [±strident] segment. I now propose a means of unifying this work with Giavazzi’s (2012) account of the rule’s application in nouns and adjectives, wherein post-stress segments avoid neutralisation. Derivational verbs may underpalatalise as their suffixes reassign stress: when stress is reassigned to a syllable containing a relevant stem-final, the segment will not palatalise. The reason that stress does not prevent palatalisation in relevant underived verbs appears to be diachronic, but I will nonetheless suggest that a synchronic constraint targeting forms without a derivational base will shed further light on palatalisation in the contemporary language. In particular, and in line with phonetic theory, it will show that the contemporary neutralisation has become less aggressive, now targeting only the most front vowel /i/. This fact accounts for the as-yet unexplained failure of the fem.pl suffix /-e/ to trigger the rule.