Phonetic details of coronal consonants in the Italian spoken by Italian-Australians from two areas of Veneto


  • Cinzia Avesani Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione del CNR (ISTC-CNR), Padova
  • Vincenzo Galatà Libera Università di Bolzano & Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, CNR, Padova
  • Catherine T. Best MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University and Haskins Laboratories, New Haven CT
  • Mario Vayra Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Italianistica, Università di Bologna, ISTC-CNR, Padova
  • Bruno Di Biase School of Humanities & Communication Arts, Western Sydney University
  • Fabio Ardolino Università di Pisa



sociophonetics, Italian, language variation and change, heritage languages, Italian-Australian immigrants, koinization


The paper investigates the distribution and the phonetic details of a set of coronal obstruents in the speech of Veneto immigrants who arrived in Australia more than 50 years ago in order to understand how they negotiate the languages that form their linguistic repertoire. We focus on their L2-Veneto Regional Italian, with the aim of ascertaining whether it has crystallized at the stage it was at the time they left Italy; whether it shows signs of attrition due to replacement of features from the L1-dialect or from L3-English; or whether it shows signs of koinization due to the contact with other dialects and regional varieties of Italian. Results on coronal obstruent distribution based on narrow phonetic transcriptions and on their acoustic characteristics (spectral moments analysis) show a change in progress in the fricative set and a general maintenance of the stop consonants’ phonetic features. Individual differences in language change are discussed in light of both internal (linguistic) and external (sociolinguistic) factors.




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