Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (A) March 29, 2021

Preconsonantal s-retraction in the Alps: Germanic, Romance, Slavic

Birgit Alber, Joachim Kokkelmans and Stefan Rabanus

Abstract

Middle and Upper German dialects exhibit a phonological process of s-retraction neutralizing alveolar [s] to palatoalveolar [ʃ] in preconsonantal contexts. Based on a corpus of dialect data from own fieldwork, dialect atlases and dictionaries, we examine this process in Germanic, Romance and Slavic varieties of the Eastern Alps. It is attested in most Germanic varieties and in Ladin and Rumantsch, but not in other Romance varieties or in the Slovenian dialects of the region. We propose that the emergence of s-retraction may be supported by language contact, but crucially relies on specific diachronic changes affecting the sibilant inventories of the varieties displaying it.


Corresponding author: Birgit Alber, Faculty of Education, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Brixen, Italy, E-mail:

Appendix
Map 1: 
Map of investigated area – red: Germanic varieties (dark red: Germanic language islands); light green: Ladin and Rumantsch varieties, dark green: Other Romance varieties; blue: Slovenian varieties.

Map 1:

Map of investigated area – red: Germanic varieties (dark red: Germanic language islands); light green: Ladin and Rumantsch varieties, dark green: Other Romance varieties; blue: Slovenian varieties.

Table 9a:

Locations of the survey area. Germanic varieties.

Variety Location (local name) Administrative area Data source
Tyrolean Landeck Tyrol (Austria) AThEME
Mals South Tyrol AThEME
Meran Own fieldwork
Sterzing TSA
Bruneck TSA
Salurn AThEME
Cimbrian Lusérn Trentino AThEME
Mòcheno Palai Own fieldwork
Oachlait AThEME
Sappadino Plodn Friuli Venezia Giulia AThEME, B/K
Saurano Zahre D/G

Table 9b:

Locations of the survey area. Romance varieties.

Variety Sub-variety Location (local name) Administrative area Data source
Ladin Gardenese Sëlva South Tyrol ALD-I, C VIVALDI
Badia San Martin de Tor ALD-I
Fassan Ciampedel Trentino ALD-I
Soraga AThEME, ALD-I
Fodom Fodom Veneto AThEME, ALD-I
Anpezo Anpezo ALD-I, VIVALDI
Rumantsch Sursilvan Breil Graubünden (Switzerland) D, J, Wikimedia
Trentino (Lombardo-Veneto) Salorno South Tyrol AThEME
Canal San Bovo Trentino VIVALDI
Brentonico AThEME
Fondo AThEME
Venetian San Pietro di Morubio Veneto AThEME
Istrana VIVALDI
Friulian Forni Avoltri Friuli Venezia Giulia VIVALDI
Forni di Sotto VIVALDI
Tramonti di Sopra ASLEF
San Odorico ASLEF
Cerneglons ASLEF
Carlino ASLEF

Table 9c:

Locations of the survey area. Slavic varieties.

Variety Sub-variety15 Location (local name) Administrative area Data source
Slovenian Carinthian dialects Brdo pri Šmohorju Carinthia (Austria) ASLEF
Ukve Friuli Venezia Giulia SLA
Littoral dialects Osojani ASLEF
Solbica ASLEF, SLA
Bardo ASLEF
Černjeja ASLEF, SLA
Špeter ASLEF, SLA
Zgonik ASLEF
Upper Carniola dialects Cerklje na Gorenjskem Slovenia SLA
Rovte dialects Rut/Podbrdo SLA

References[15]

Note: all online media last viewed on 4 October 2019.Search in Google Scholar

AADG = Kleiner, Stefan. 2011ff. Atlas zur Aussprache des deutschen Gebrauchsstandards. Available at: http://prowiki.ids-mannheim.de/bin/view/AADG.Search in Google Scholar

Adams, Douglas Q. 1975. The distribution of retracted sibilants in Medieval Europe. Language 51(2). 282–292.10.2307/412855Search in Google Scholar

Alber, Birgit. 2001. Regional variation and edges: Glottal stop epenthesis and dissimilation in standard and Southern varieties of German. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 20. 3–41.10.1515/zfsw.2001.20.1.3Search in Google Scholar

Alber, Birgit & Stefan Rabanus. 2018. Die Sibilanten des Zimbrischen: Konservativität durch Sprachkontakt. In Stefan Rabanus (ed.), Deutsch als Minderheitensprache in Italien. Theorie und Empirie kontaktinduzierten Sprachwandels, 19–47. Hildesheim: Olms.Search in Google Scholar

ALD-I = Goebl, Hans (ed.). 1998–2002. Atlante linguistico del ladino dolomitico e dei dialetti limitrofi. Sprachatlas des Dolomitenladinischen und angrenzender Dialekte. Linguistic a tlas of Dolomitic Ladinian and neighbouring dialects. Wiesbaden: Reichert.Search in Google Scholar

ASLEF = Pellegrini, Giovan Battista (ed.). 1972–1986. Atlante storico-linguistico-etnografico friulano. Padua: Istituto di glottologia dell’Università di Padova/Udine: Istituto di filologia romanza della Facoltà di lingue e letterature straniere dell’Università di Trieste con sede in Udine.Search in Google Scholar

Baker, Adam, Diana Archangeli & Jeff Mielke. 2011. Variability in American English s-retraction suggests a solution to the actuation problem. Language Variation and Change 23. 347–374.10.1017/S0954394511000135Search in Google Scholar

Benedetti, Marcella & Cristina Kratter. 2010. Plodar berterpuich. Vocabolario sappadino-italiano, italiano-sappadino. Sappada: Comune di Sappada/Associazione Plodar.Search in Google Scholar

Benincà, Paola & John Haiman. 2005. The Rhaeto-Romance languages. London: Routledge.10.4324/9780203992487Search in Google Scholar

Benware, Wilbur Alan. 1996. Processual change and phonetic analogy: Early New High German<s> > <sch>. Journal of German Linguistics 8(2). 265–287.10.1017/S1040820700001864Search in Google Scholar

Boersma, Paul & Silke Hamann. 2008. The evolution of auditory dispersion in bidirectional constraint grammars. Phonology 25(1). 217–270.10.1017/S0952675708001474Search in Google Scholar

Braune, Wilhelm. 2004. Althochdeutsche Grammatik I: Laut- und Formenlehre, 15th ed. Tübingen: Niemeyer.10.1515/9783110930887Search in Google Scholar

Canalis, Stefano. 2017. The voiced and voiceless outcomes of intervocalic -SJ- in Old Tuscan. Quaderni di Linguistica e Studi Orientali 3. 157–182.Search in Google Scholar

Colla, Silvia. 2014. Le sibilanti nel dialetto ladino gardenese. Verona: University of Verona BA thesis.Search in Google Scholar

Decurtins, Alexi. 2001. Niev vocabulari romontsch sursilvan-tudestg. Chur: Südostschweiz Print AG.Search in Google Scholar

Denison, Norman & Hans Grassegger. 2007. Zahrer Wörterbuch – Vocabolario saurano. Sauris: Comune di Sauris/Graz: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Graz.Search in Google Scholar

Esau, Helmut. 1976. The medieval German sibilants /S/ and /ʐ/. The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 75(1/2). 188–197.Search in Google Scholar

Forni, Marco. 2013. Dizionario italiano–ladino gardenese/Dizioner ladin de Gherdëina–Italian. San Martin de Tor: Istitut Ladin Micurà de Rü.Search in Google Scholar

Gentile, Aniello. 1966. Principi di trascrizione fonetica. Naples: Liguori.Search in Google Scholar

Glain, Olivier. 2013. Into the ears, through the head, out on the lips. How listening errors can trigger new instances of palatalisation. Anglophonia. French Journal of English Linguistics 17(34). 137–158.10.4000/anglophonia.101Search in Google Scholar

Hall, Tracy A. 2008. Middle High German [rs] > [rʃ] as height dissimilation. The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 11(3). 213–248.10.1007/s10828-008-9021-5Search in Google Scholar

Hall, Tracy A. & John H. G. Scott. 2007. Inflectional paradigms have a base: Evidence from s-dissimilation in Southern German dialects. Morphology 17. 151–178.10.1007/s11525-007-9112-zSearch in Google Scholar

Hegedűs, Irén. 2012. The RUKI-rule in Nuristani. In Benedicte Nielsen Whitehead (ed.), The sound of Indo-European: Phonetics, phonemics and morphophonemics, 145–168. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, University of Copenhagen.Search in Google Scholar

Huszthy, Bálint. 2017. The “untamed” /s/ of Italian dialects: An overview of the singular behavior of Italo-Romance sibilants. Verbum Analecta Neolatina 18. 189–214.Search in Google Scholar

Iskarous, Khalil, Christine H. Shadle & Michael I. Proctor. 2011. Articulatory-acoustic kinematics: The production of American English /s/. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 129(2). 944–954.10.1121/1.3514537Search in Google Scholar

Janzing, Gereon. 2008. Rätoromanisch (Surselvisch)-Kauderwelsch: Wort für Wort. Bielefeld: Reise Know-How Verlag.Search in Google Scholar

Joos, Martin. 1952. The medieval sibilants. Language 28(2). 222–231.10.2307/410515Search in Google Scholar

Jungemann, Fredrick H. 1955. La teoría del sustrato y los dialectos hispano-romances y gascones. Madrid: Gredos.Search in Google Scholar

Kattenbusch, Dieter, Carola, Köhler, Marcel, Lucas Müller & Fabio, Tosques (eds.). 1998. VIVALDI = Vivaio Acustico delle Lingue e dei Dialetti d’Italia. Berlin: Humboldt-Universität. Available at: https://www2.hu-berlin.de/vivaldi/.Search in Google Scholar

King, Duane Harold. 1975. A grammar and dictionary of the Cherokee language. Ann Arbor: UMI.Search in Google Scholar

Kokkelmans, Joachim. 2017. Die Achillesfersche einer Lautverschiebung im Vollzug. Postalveolarisierung, Retroflektierung und r-Schwund bei /rs/ in flämischen Umgangssprachen und den germanischen Sprachen, sowie deren Beziehung zu den Aussprache arten von /r/. Gent: Universiteit Gent MA thesis.Search in Google Scholar

Kokkelmans, Joachim. 2020. Middle High German and modern Flemish s-retraction in /rs/-clusters. In Gunther de Vogelaer, Dietha Koster & Torsten Leuschner (eds.), German and Dutch in contrast, 213–238. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.10.1515/9783110668476-008Search in Google Scholar

König, Werner. 2011. dtv-Atlas Deutsche Sprache. 17th ed. München: dtv.Search in Google Scholar

Kümmel, Martin. 2007. Konsonantenwandel: Bausteine zu einer Typologie des Lautwandels und ihre Konsequenzen für die vergleichende Rekonstruktion. Wiesbaden: Reichert.Search in Google Scholar

Lencek, Rado L. 1982. The structure and history of the Slovene language. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica.Search in Google Scholar

Mereu, Daniela. 2017. Arretramento di /s/ nel sardo cagliaritano: uno studio sociofonetico. In Chiara Bertini, Chiara Celata, Giovanni Lenoci, Chiara Meluzzi & Irene Ricci (eds.), Fattori sociali e biologici nella variazione fonetica. Social and biological factors in speech variation, 45–65. Milan: Officinaventuno.Search in Google Scholar

Mielke, Jeff. 2006. P-base. Available at: http://pbase.phon.chass.ncsu.edu.Search in Google Scholar

Moling, Sara. 2016. Dizionario italiano–ladin val Badia/Dizionar ladin val Badia–italiano. San Martin de Tor: Istitut Ladin Micurà de Rü.10.54218/ladinia.40.229-258Search in Google Scholar

Neweklowski, Gerhard. 1990. Kärntner Deutsch aus slawistischer Sicht: zum deutsch-slowenischen Sprachbund in Kärnten. In Ludger Kremer & Hermann Niebaum (eds.), Grenzdialekte. Studien zur Entwicklung kontinentalwestgermanischer Dialektkontinua, 477–500. Hildesheim: Olms.Search in Google Scholar

Pellegrini, Giovan Battista. 1972. Introduzione all’Atlante storico-linguistico-etnografico friulano (ASLEF). Padua: Istituto di glottologia dell’Università di Padova/Udine: Istituto di filologia romanza della Facoltà di lingue e letterature straniere dell’Università di Trieste con sede in Udine.Search in Google Scholar

Prescott, Charles N. 2015. Pharyngealization and the three dorsal stop series of Proto-Indo-European. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277668747_Pharyngealization_and_the_three_dorsal_stop_series_of_Proto-Indo-European.Search in Google Scholar

Rohlfs, Gerhard. 1949. Historische Grammatik der Italienischen Sprache und ihrer Mundarten. Vol. I: Lautlehre. Bern: Francke.Search in Google Scholar

Schmid, Heinrich. 1956. Über Randgebiete und Sprachgrenzen. Vox Romanica 15(2). 19–84.Search in Google Scholar

SLA = Škofic, Jožica (ed.). 2011. Slovenski lingvistični atlas 1: Človek (telo, bolezni, družina). Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.10.3986/9789612543570Search in Google Scholar

SPELL = Servisc de Planificazion y Elaborazion dl Lingaz Ladin. 2001. Gramatica dl ladin standard. Vich, San Martin de Tor & Bulsan: Union Generela di Ladins dles Dolomites.Search in Google Scholar

Spreafico, Lorenzo. 2016. s-retraction in Italian-Tyrolean bilingual speakers: A preliminary investigation using the ultrasound tongue imaging technique. In Marie-Hélène Côté, Remco Knooihuizen & John Nerbonne (eds.), The future of dialects, 321–330. Berlin: Language Science Press.Search in Google Scholar

Stevens, Mary, Véronique Bukmaier & Jonathan Harrington. 2015. Pre-consonantal /s/-retraction. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.Search in Google Scholar

Toth, Alfred. 1988. Historische Grammatik der Mundart von la Plié da Fodom. Konsonantismus. Ladinia 12. 57–91.10.54218/ladinia.12.57-91Search in Google Scholar

Trumper, John. 1977. Ricostruzione nell’Italia settentrionale: sistemi consonantici. Considerazioni sociolinguistiche nella diacronia. In Raffaele Simone & Ugo Vignuzzi (eds.), Problemi della ricostruzione in linguistica. Atti del convegno internazionale di studi (Pavia, 1–2 ott. 1975), 259–310. Rome: Bulzoni.Search in Google Scholar

TSA = Klein, Karl Kurt & Ludwig Erich Schmitt (eds.). 1965–1971. Tirolischer Sprachatlas, prepared by Egon Kühebacher taking account of Bruno Schweizer’s preliminary work. Marburg: Elwert/Innsbruck: Tyrolia.Search in Google Scholar

Tuttle, Edward Fowler. 1985. Le interdentali venete nella storia delle sibilanti romanze occidentali. In Manlio Cortelazzo (ed.), Guida ai dialetti veneti. Vol. 7, 7–43. Padua: CLEUP.Search in Google Scholar

Vijūnas, Aurelijus. 2010. The Proto-Indo-European sibilant */s/. Historical Linguistics 123(1). 40–55.10.13109/hisp.2010.123.1.40Search in Google Scholar

WA = Wenker, Georg. 1889–1923. Sprachatlas des Deutschen Reichs. Marburg: Forschungszentrum Deutscher Sprachatlas.Search in Google Scholar

Wiese, Richard. 1991. Was ist extrasilbisch im Deutschen und warum? Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 10(1). 112–133.10.1515/zfsw.1991.10.1.112Search in Google Scholar

Wiese, Richard. 1996. The phonology of German. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Search in Google Scholar

Wikimedia Commons. 2011. Category: Romansh pronunciation. Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Romansh_pronunciation.Search in Google Scholar

Zamboni, Alberto. 1974. Veneto. Profilo dei dialetti italiani 5. Pisa: Pacini.Search in Google Scholar

Zamboni, Alberto. 1988. Venezien – Veneto. In Günter Holtus, Michael Metzeltin & Michael Christian Schmitt (eds.), Lexikon der romanistischen Linguistik, IV: Italienisch, 517–538. Tübingen: Niemeyer.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2020-01-10
Accepted: 2020-07-15
Published Online: 2021-03-29
Published in Print: 2021-04-27

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston