Acoustic correlates of phonological microvariations

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Recent field researches in a small area of Southern Salento by means of an appropriate questionnaire, acoustic analysis and statistic treatment of the data have pointed out the existence of micro-parametric metaphonetic processes never noticed before. These processes cause the raising of the stressed mid vowels /E/ and /O/ to the counterpart mid-high vowels [e] and [o], when followed by the unstressed high vowels -i and -u. In order to incorporate coherently phonetics in phonological analysis (within an autosegmental phonological framework), we tried to extract the phonetic out of the phonological properties. The results suggest that the phonological microvariation is mastered by the interplay of acoustic-articulatory, and probably perceptive features of the stressed and unstressed vocalism involved in the processes, supporting a research perspective in which distinctive features have and important role not only in articulatory actions, but also in all intermediate representations, and, furthermore, in perceptive processes.


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