Repeated Vowels in Italian

An exploratory study


  • Daniele Santini Università di Pisa
  • Giovanna Lenoci Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
  • Giovanna Marotta Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics, University of Pisa
  • Pier Marco Bertinetto Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa



repeated identical vowels, hiatus, Ultrasound Tongue Imaging (UTI), articulation


This paper addresses the articulatory realization of repeated identical vowels in Italian, such as they exist in root-internal position (e.g. coorte ‘cohort’, Sahara ‘id.’) or across a morpheme boundary (atee ‘atheists.F’, coordinare ‘to coordinate’). In structural terms, these vowel sequences give rise to a hiatus, but their actual realization is variable. At fast speech rate, they may collapse into a single vowel also in terms of total duration. In careful speech, however, they retain a much longer duration than their single vowel counterparts (cf. corte ‘court’, Sara ‘id.’). In addition, and crucially for our purpose, they may exhibit some hints at rearticulation at the boundary between the first and the second vowel. Some evidence that this may indeed occur was found by means of the UTI technique in a corpus of carefully produced speech.




Most read articles by the same author(s)