Variation in intonation across Italy

The case of Palermo Italian


  • Barbara Gili Fivela CRIL – DREAM, Università del Salento, Lecce
  • Massimiliano M. Iraci CRIL – DREAM, Università del Salento, Lecce



intonation, Palermo Italian, variation, Autosegmental-Metrical framework


The present work addresses the main characteristics of Palermo Italian intonation with the aim to extend previous investigations on the same variety of Italian and, even more importantly, with the final goal of improving the knowledge on variation in intonation throughout Italy. The ideas behind the present study are that, first, a better knowledge on intonation may be reached by focusing on a wide set of communicative contexts and by considering different speech styles, and, second, cross-variety variation may be better pointed out by adopting the very same methods used to investigate other varieties. Materials were then collected and analyzed by adopting the same criteria followed in a recent, wide study on Italian varieties. Results show that the adopted methodology allowed to obtain a better knowledge on Palermo Italian, in relation to both the analysis of sentence modalities which had been investigated before and new modalities and pragmatic contexts collected for the present study; moreover, cross-variety comparison was enriched by adding Palermo Italian, and confirming the lack of homogeneity in intonation patterns used within isoglosses traditionally proposed in the literature on vernaculars in Italy.




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