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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17762

Title: Sonorant Relationships in Two Varieties of Sardinian
Authors: Frigeni, Chiara
Advisor: Rice, Keren
Department: Linguistics
Keywords: Phonology
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2009
Abstract: Phonological interactions among sonorant sounds, and between sonorants and obstruents, are widespread in Romance languages. In this dissertation, I examine in detail such interactions in two dialects of Sardinian (Italo-Romance), Campidanese and Nuorese, showing that sonorant relationships differentiate the synchronic grammars of these dialects. The synchronic patterning of nasals and liquids, and how these two sonorant subclasses interact with obstruents, is significantly different between the two dialects. In particular, nasals trigger phonological nasalization of vowels and of the rhotic in Campidanese but not in Nuorese. The arguments for a phonological analysis of vowel nasalization in Campidanese are reviewed, expanded, and tested against an acoustic study. The historical traces of interaction between /n/ and /r/ in this dialect are linked to the synchronic rhotic nasalization process highlighted by an acoustic study of fieldwork data. In Nuorese, on the other hand, /n/ does not initiate phonological nasalization either of vowels or of the rhotic, and it is the target of total assimilation when followed by any segments but an oral stop. Nasals in the two dialects thus pattern in two very different ways phonologically: nasals are process triggers in Campidanese and process targets in Nuorese. The rhotic also shows distinct patterns in the two dialects, interacting with /n/ in Campidanese and with /s/ in Nuorese. The two dialects, with those asymmetries, thus display complementary sonorant patterns. I argue that a model able to capture such complementarity of patterns is the theory of the contrastive hierarchy (Dresher 2008). The Campidanese and Nuorese sonorant patterns, so radically different, lead one to question whether sonorants form a homogeneous phonological class cross-linguistically. Campidanese and Nuorese show that the make-up of such a class appears to be language-specific. Since the sonorant class is a universal class of sounds, its heterogeneity, in turn, questions the notion of phonological classhood at large. The data and the analysis presented in this dissertation thus feed the debate around phonological classhood. According to the theoretical model adopted in the present dissertation, the language-specific make-up of a class of sounds is all that can be labeled a ‘phonological’ class. Classes of sounds can be described in phonetic terms, but classes phonetically defined do not necessarily amount to phonological classes.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17762
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Linguistics - Doctoral theses

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