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Vowel Length From Latin to Romance$
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Michele Loporcaro

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656554

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656554.001.0001

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The analysis of Northern Romance vowel length

The analysis of Northern Romance vowel length

(p.121) 4 The analysis of Northern Romance vowel length
Vowel Length From Latin to Romance

Michele Loporcaro

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 considers the different accounts of the rise of contrastive vowel length in Northern Romance which have been put forward both in the dialectological literature and in studies in theoretical phonology. It is argued that traditional formal accounts suffer from one basic shortcoming: they unduly reduce diachronic phonology to internal reconstruction alone. However, the principles of historical linguistics require that internal reconstruction be subordinated either to external (comparative) reconstruction or to direct inspection (when possible) of the philological record on past stages of the language(s) involved. On this basis, the conclusion is reached that Northern Romance contrastive vowel length first came into being through one single change, viz. the phonologization of the lengthened allophone in stressed open syllables, which took place when geminate consonants were lost and thus the contextual distinction between original open vs. closed syllables was obscured.

Keywords:   generative phonology, generative sound change, linguistic reconstruction, vowel length, raddoppiamento fonosintattico

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