The sociophonetics of rhotic variation in Sicilian dialects and Sicilian Italian: corpus, methodology and first results


  • Chiara Celata Scuola Normale Superiore
  • Chiara Meluzzi Scuola Normale Superiore
  • Irene Ricci Scuola Normale Superiore



rhotics, articulatory sociophonetics, phonetic annotation, coda /r/, Sicilian


SoPhISM (The SocioPhonetics of verbal Interaction: Sicilian Multimodal corpus) is an acoustic and articulatory sociophonetic corpus focused on whithin-speaker variation as a function of stylistic/communicative factors. The corpus is particularly intended for the study of rhotics as a sociolinguistic variable in the production of Sicilian speakers. Rhotics are analyzed according to the distinction between single-phase and multiple-phase rhotics along with the presence of constriction and aperture articulatory phases. Based on these parameters, the annotation protocol seeks to classify rhotic variants within a sufficiently granular, but internally consistent, phonetic perspective. The proposed descriptive parameters allow for the discussion of atypical realizations in terms of phonetic derivations (or simplifications) of typical closure–aperture sequences. The distribution of fricative variants in the speech repertoire of one speaker and his interlocutors shows the potential provided by SoPhISM for sociophonetic variation to be studied at the ‘micro’ level of individual speaker’s idiolects.


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How to Cite

Celata, C., Meluzzi, C., & Ricci, I. (2016). The sociophonetics of rhotic variation in Sicilian dialects and Sicilian Italian: corpus, methodology and first results. Loquens, 3(1), e025.