Glottalization at phrase boundaries in Tuscan and Roman Italian*

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Phonological accounts of Italian traditionally exclude glottal consonants from the sound inventory of the language. However, a number of studies have reported creak in vowels in word-final stressed open syllables, suggesting the presence of a following glottal stop. The present study, which features acoustic analysis of read speech from four speakers of Tuscan and Roman Italian, investigates two possible sources of this glottalization: (1) a glottal consonant filling an empty mora posited for final stressed syllables, and (2) prosodic boundary marking. Results show no evidence of a glottal coda &#8212; glottalization occurs predominantly at phrase boundaries, with target vowels bearing stress and/or occurring in hiatus showing an increased rate of glottalization. A proposal is made for glottalization as prosodic boundary marking, where it serves to clearly define constituent edges and to block processes signaling cohesion between words, such as <i>raddoppiamento sintattico</i> and vowel coalescence, particularly where there is an intervening phrase boundary.


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