Stressed vowel duration and stress placement in Italian

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This paper examines stressed vowel duration and word stress placement in Italian. It presents experimental data showing that absolute duration is slightly longer in paroxytones than in proparoxytones (as previously reported), but relative duration (computed as the ratio between stressed vowel duration and the duration of the immediately post-tonic vowel) remains constant. The data also suggest that proparoxytones have a word-final secondary stress.The paper also examines the status of weight-sensitivity in Italian, arguing (on the basis of stress placement in loanwords, acronyms and non-standard pronunciations) that it is no longer productive. The same data also show that even-syllabled words tend to receive penultimate stress, while odd-syllabled words tend to be antepenultimate. The paper argues that it is the result of a conflict between preference for penultimate stress and the need to parse all syllables. Keywords: vowel duration; word stress; Italian phonology


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