chapter  1
12 Pages

Introduction and Prosodic Preliminaries

The Italian phenomenon known as raddoppiamento sintattico, or sometimes raddoppiamento fonosintattico , has received a vast amount o f attention in recent years. Long recognized in Italian grammar books, the process consists o f the gemination o f a word-initial consonant in certain environments. The word raddoppiamento means “doubling,” and it is deemed “syntactic” or “phonosyntactic” because the process spans word boundaries. The environments that cause raddoppiamento sintattico (hereafter RS) in Standard Italian follow:

Environments o f RS: (1) follow ing a word with fin a l stress a. [tjit:a#b:el:a] citta bella ‘beautiful city’ b. [vi'ta#bel:a] vita bella (no RS) ‘beautiful life’

(2) follow ing certain words without fin a l stress a. [come#m:e] come me ‘like me’ b. [a#k:asa] a casa ‘home’ (motion or locative) c. [pane#duro] pane duro (no RS) ‘stale bread’

As illustrated in (1), a word-initial consonant is geminated following wordfinal stress but not following a word with penultimate stress. In the environment shown in (2), the gemination occurs following a closed class o f lexical items that do not have final stress; some have penultimate stress and others are unstressed monosyllables. The environment in (2) has been considered by traditional grammars (as well as several contemporary linguists) to be the key to the true origins o f this phenomenon, rooted in a historical assimilation o f a final consonant (subsequently lost) to the initial consonant o f the following word. Much recent work on RS focuses instead on the environment in (1)— that

following a stress-and many synchronic analyses have been proposed to account for this stress-induced gemination.