Tuscan Anaphonesis and legacy data





The paper provides a geolinguistic analysis of the so called ‘anaphonesis of second type’ (Castellani, 1952), a phonetics phenomenon that concerns the changing of high mid vowels to [i] and [u] before nasal + velar, e.g. [‘loŋgu] > [‘luŋgo], ‘long’; [‘leŋgua] > [‘liŋgua], ‘tongue’; [‘veŋko] > [‘viŋko], ‘I win’. The analysis is based on the inspection of Carta dei Dialetti Italiani (CDI) sound archive, one of the most important geolinguistic entreprises of the last century. The surveys undertaken in Tuscany have been recovered, digitized, catalogued, and published for scientific use by Grammo-foni. Le soffitte della voce (Gra.fo), a research project financed by Regione Toscana, PAR FAS 2007-13. The sound archive of CDI includes recordings collected in the 60s and 70s by scholars involved in a nation-wide research project on Italian dialects. It originally implied a survey on 500 voices and the collection of a dialectal version of the Parable of the prodigal son in every Italian municipality; in any event, all the localities investigated were at that time represented by several informants with fieldwork sessions recorded on tape. Today, these recordings are among the oldest available materials on Tuscan dialects. The geolinguistic picture emerging from the auditory inspection of the data seems to collide with Castellani’s description; in this period, Tuscany already appears to be almost completely anaphonetical and the absence of the phenomenon is limited to the southern areas as the countryside around the cities of Siena and Arezzo.