The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle - 3/8 - Michael Kenstowicz

Speaker: Michael Kenstowicz, MIT
Title: Vocale Incerta, Vocale Aperta
Time: 5pm, 32-D831

It is well known that Standard Italian distinguishes between open and closed mid vowels in stressed syllables and that this contrast is neutralized in unstressed syllables. Less well known is a process which realizes mid vowels as open when stress shifts from an unstressed to a stressed syllable of the base, as in numero but nume?ric. This process can be detected in certain isolated corners of the derivational morphology and more systematically in loanword adaptation. In the first part of this presentation we document the process and in the second we explore two alternative phonetic motivations: sonority enhancement under stress and dispersion in F1-F2 vowel space.