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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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Dialect variation and comparative reconstruction

Dialect variation and comparative reconstruction

(p.145) 5 Dialect variation and comparative reconstruction
Vowel Length From Latin to Romance

Michele Loporcaro

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 fleshes out the reconstruction of the rise and fall of contrastive vowel length in Northern Romance varieties through detailed inspection of dialect variation. It is shown that for many sub-areas of Northern Romance there is evidence that secondary contrastive vowel length was first established and then lost: in other words, this property of the phonology of those dialects is a recessive one. This recessiveness is best explained by the proposal put forward in this chapter as opposed to those reviewed in Chapter 4. Section 5.2 is devoted to proving that there is no possible link (structural and historical) between apocope and the rise of contrastive vowel length. The chapter then offers a comparison between the length ratios for short vs long vowels and consonants for several dialect varieties, with a special focus on those spoken on the northern and southern peripheries of Northern Romance. In §5.4, the issue of the gradual loss of contrastive vowel length is taken up again, before the final section shows how the gradual spread of contrastive vowel length to the word-final stressed position can still be reconstructed on evidence from some varieties spoken on the Emilian Apennines.

Keywords:   dialect variation, reconstruction, experimental phonetic evidence, sound change

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