SRPP: A phonetic approach to Campidanese Sardinian lenition

Jonah Katz (West Virginia University)
19 mars 2021, 14h0015h30

Campidanese Sardinian displays a complex system of obstruent lenition that has received much attention in theoretical phonology, motivating formal devices such as constraints on systemic contrast (Tessier 2004); local conjunction of markedness and faithfulness (Łubowicz 2002); perceptual ‘warping’ of faithfulness scales (Storme 2018), and *MAP constraints with ranking biases (Hayes & White 2015). All of these proposals are based on Bolognesi’s (1998) description of Campidanese. In this account, a voiced and voiceless UR series of stops (referred to as /D/ and /T/, respectively) contrast in post-pausal or utterance-initial position. The /T/ series lenite to voiced continuants following a vowel within a phrase; the /D/ series do not lenite. This pattern is phonologically problematic because /T/ undergoes a relatively radical change ([voi] and [cont]), while /D/ fails to undergo a less radical change (just [cont]).

This talk argues, based on phonetic results from Katz & Pitzanti (2019), that none of the phonological devices mentioned above are necessary or sufficient for describing Campidanese consonant lenition. Instead, I propose a model that derives manner-related lenition and fortition from prosodically-conditioned changes in duration, without changing phonological features at all. This phonetic approach captures core facts about the consonant system that are missing from Bolognesi’s (1998) description and all subsequent analyses based on that description: (1) rates of prosodically-conditioned lenition and associated changes in intensity are predictable from prosodically-conditioned differences in duration; (2) manner and intensity differences between different UR consonant series are not predictable from duration alone; and (3) duration- and intensity-based lenition and fortition affect all consonants, even extending to vowel-vowel transitions in hiatus. I will present the phonetic model, show how it derives the core properties described above, and speculate on the cross-linguistic uniformity or lack thereof in such intervocalic lenition processes.

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