Description - Raddoppiamento Sintattico in Italian by Doris Angel Borrelli

This book addresses the problem of word-initial gemination ( raddoppiamento sintattico ) in Italian, a popular topic of phonological study. Incorporating data from various Italian dialects along with historical evidence to enhance our picture of this process, the analysis accounts for the complexities of the phenomenon, including the different (and seemingly unrelated) environments, as well as the varied behaviour in the dialects, using Optimality Theory. The interaction of word-initial gemination with lenition, stress and vowel length illuminates these very processes and the phonological constraints that drive them. Finally, the historical development of the process is explored and incorporated into the OT analysis. The dissertation offers a comprehensive and unified account of this long-studied problem, one that has not traditionally been approached cross-linguistically or from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives. Furthermore it contributes to the growing momentum of approaching historical questions from the vantage point of Optimality Theory.
The dissertation will be of interest not only to Italianists and Romance scholars, but to phonologists, historians and generalists as well.

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