The intonation of neighboring varieties in Campania
2022-04-14, 11:30–12:00 (Europe/Vienna), Room 2

Theoretical framework
Prosody has been proved cross-linguistically to be an important cue for the identification of the regional origin of a speaker [1, 2, 3], and is one of the main factors in the definition of Italian regional varieties [4], including regional standards [5]. Most of the research on intonation in regional Italian focused on the analysis of city-based varieties, e.g. Pisa or Palermo Italian [6, 7]. These studies provide a picture of regional Italian intonation characterized by common features (e.g. declaratives are relatively homogeneous and generally realized with the tune H+L*L-L% [9]), as well as divergent features (the case of the different tunes of yn questions [8] [9]). This picture featuring variation and homogeneity is, at present, mostly based on geographically distant varieties. The few available studies on Italian neighboring varieties showed that regional intonation does not follow the main dialectal isoglosses, such as the La Spezia-Rimini line [10]. While these findings might be partly influenced by the way prosodic data are analyzed [11], they also suggest that the areal distribution of regional prosodic features does not follow the continuum of the primary dialects, and that prosodic variation of regional Italian might be better described in terms of patterns of frequency and distribution than in terms of clear-cut isoglosses [10, 12]. In this context, the intonational analysis of neighboring varieties would provide a finer-grained picture of the continuum of regional Italian pronunciation, helping to characterize transitional areas, and to understand the relationship between primary dialects and regional Italian varieties.

This paper aims at contributing to this research, by zooming in on the regional intonation of three neighboring varieties of Campania Italian [13, 14], i.e. Neapolitan, Salerno and Cilento Italian. Campania speakers are bilingual, as dialects are vital at least to some extent also among the younger generations [14, 15, 16]. Therefore, the choice of the three data points reflects their position on the Campanian linguistic map [14, 17]: Naples and Salerno are both included in the Neapolitan dialectal area, whereas Cilento is located for its largest part under the Eboli–Lucera isogloss separating Campania from Lucanian dialects [14].

The study compares the tune of statements and y-n questions of different types in Neapolitan [9, 18], Salerno [9, 12] and in Cilento Italian (belonging to a different dialectal area). The intonational comparison of the three closely related varieties is based on a phonetic and phonological analysis of the tunes.

Since prosodic features can be affected by the speech style [8, 12, 19], we examine dialogical as well as read speech. The data are extracted from CLIPS [20] and IARI [21] (Naples and Salerno), and are complemented with new datasets collected for the present study (Cilento). To insure comparability, new data are collected with the same elicitation techniques used for CLIPS and IARI: Map task [22] and Spot the difference [23] for dialogical speech, and Discourse Completion Task [24] for semi-spontaneous and read speech.

Panel affiliation

Sociolinguistic variation in contemporary Italian


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