Margaret E. L. RENWICK / University of Georgia & Oxford University

 9 janvier 2018 à 11h30

Phonological intuitions vs. speech production in Italian and Catalan
Some concept of contrast is central to all theories of phonology. This paper gathers findings from the phonology and phonetics of vowels in two Romance languages to argue that contrast is more complex than suggested by the binary distinction between phonemes and allophones. In parallel studies of Italian and Catalan we examine contrasts among mid vowels, hypothesizing that phonological intuitions of mid vowel height vary across speakers, and that speakers’ judgments may not always match their own pronunciation. In Italian, most speakers have clear phonetic distinctions between high and low mid vowels; however, vowels’ lexical distribution can vary. In Catalan, variation is found in the contrasts’ phonetic implementation: some speakers’ mid vowels are highly distinct, but others’ overlap; a large-scale survey of speaker judgments confirms that a core of Catalan words are variable in height. In both languages phonological awareness is generally high, but we observe mismatches between production and speaker judgment. Experimental results thus show that some Romance vowel contrasts are indeed weak, and variably implemented both within and across speakers.

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