chapter  2
10 Pages

Historical Gemination

In Standard Italian and in the dialects o f central and southern Italy, unlike many Romance languages, Latin geminates were preserved. In addition, new geminates developed from a number o f sources. Northern dialects experienced degemination and no longer have contrastive consonant length. In the following sections, the different sources o f geminates in Italian are examined. Section 2.1 illustrates how geminates arose from assimilation. In Section 2.2 compensatory lengthening as a source o f gemination is discussed, along with gemination before glides and the role o f sonority. Section 2.3 addresses stress and spontaneous gemination in proparoxytones, and Section 2.4 describes the absence o f geminates in northern dialects.