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Gemination in English loans in American varieties of Italian

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Abstract

Why do geminate consonants frequently appear in borrowed words when the foreign form does not contain a geminate? In this paper I review previous approaches to this problem, and suggest that they are insufficient in accounting for consonant length contrasts in English loan words in North American varieties of Italian. I suggest that many factors are involved in the determination of consonant length in loans, including aspects of the grammar of the borrowing language (in this case, Italian) — such as the inventory of segments, the structure of the stressed syllable, and the presence of similar native lexical items — as well as the interpretation of the morphological structure and phonetic details of the foreign word.

References

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