Bogus Clusters and Lenition in Tuscan Italian: Implications for the theory of sonority
Shanti Ulfsbjorninn
August 2017
 

It is widely believed that syllabification is determined by a sonority-driven algorithm like the Sonority Sequencing Principle (Selkirk 1984; Clements 1990, Vaux and Wolfe 2009). In this study, I evaluate this claim in light of Tuscan Italian. Using three phonological diagnostics, it will be possible to split the consonant clusters (CCs) of Tuscan into three types: Branching onset, Coda-Onset and Bogus clusters. Metrical lengthening and Gorgia Toscana filter out Branching onsets leaving behind Coda-Onset and Bogus clusters as remnant. Elsewhere, the process of Epenthesis (in non-standard dialects) filters out the Bogus clusters instead leaving Branching onsets and Coda-Onset clusters as remnant. Comparing the two sets of remnant allows for the extraction of the Coda-Onset set. Using a Sonority Differential analysis (Parker 2011), it becomes evident (process by process) that sonority is not the primary (or a preferable) mechanism in determining these sets. In seeking an alternative analysis, Gorgia Toscana will be presented in some detail along with its implications for sonority. Gorgia underapplies with Bogus clusters. I will provide a suggestive sketch for a competing representational solution based on Strict CV (in particular Lowenstamm 2003 and Brun-Trigud & Scheer 2010). Informed in part by interlude theory (Steriade 2008), it offers an alternative account for the lenition facts: compressible CCs (Branching onsets) are equivalent to a singleton stop, while non-compressible clusters (Coda-Onset and Bogus clusters) are equivalent to geminates. Unlike sonority based analyses, the phonological definition of the clusters offered here has a clear relationship with the phonological processes that occur to them.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003267
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear
keywords: syllable structure, lenition, sonority, gorgia toscana, phonology, generative grammar, strict cv, interlude theory, phonology
previous versions: v4 [February 2017]
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