Intonation in Liguria and Tuscany

Checking for similarities across a traditional isogloss boundary




intonation, La Spezia Italian, Imperia Italian, variation, isoglosses


The present work investigates the intonation systems of two varieties of Italian spoken in Liguria, namely in La Spezia and Imperia, with the aims of 1) extending the existing knowledge on the intonation systems of varieties of Italian, and 2) checking if it is possible to detect similarities/differences in systems found in relatively close areas which belong to either the same (e.g., in Liguria itself ) or different isoglosses (e.g., in Tuscany). The second goal, in particular, corresponds to a different perspective in comparison to the more frequent attempt to identify patterns that characterise specific areas. The analysis of La Spezia and Imperia Italian and the comparison of their intonation systems with those of the varieties of Italian spoken in Genova, Pisa and Florence allow us to extend the geographical reach of phonological analyses of Italian intonation; furthermore, as for the second goal, results show that, at least as far as yes/no questions are concerned, even though varieties show different “preferred” melodic contours, it is possible to identify similar patterns that occur with different frequency in towns across different isoglosses




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