|Chapter title||On vowel nasalisation in transitional Francoprovençal and Occitan areas|
|Authors||Russo, M. and Kasstan, J.|
An oft-cited characteristic feature distinguishing Oïl and Francoprovençal (FP) from Occitan varieties in the Romance literature is the presence of nasal vowels in the former, and their absence in the latter. Yet dialectological material from the turn of the century clearly shows variation in Occitan forms in the large transitional space where FP and Occitan are in contact. The presence of nasalized and non–nasalized Occitan forms implies a more complex picture than is traditionally understood, and suggests that the phonological inventory of northern Occitan may have included extensive endogenous nasalization in the past. How widespread can we claim this endogenous nasalization to be? And what phonological evidence is there in synchrony? In addressing these questions, this paper has two aims. Using empirical data, we first seek to compare vowel nasalization in FP and northern Occitan in order to establish the acoustic and spectral properties of nasal targets in synchrony. Second, we test the hypothesis that nasality in northern Occitan has resulted from internal development, rather than from borrowing via its sister varieties. To do so, we marshal inter-disciplinary datasets gathered using methods from several fields in linguistics (acoustic phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, dialectology). In synchrony, these datasets include: speech samples taken from sociolinguistic interviews among FP speakers in the Lyonnais mountains; recent radio and interview recordings from northern Occitan speakers in the wider Auvergne–Rhône–Alpes, Haute–Loire, Ardèche, and Drôme regions; dialectological surveys undertaken in Ardèche; and archival sound files taken from the open-access platform CoCoON (Collections de corpus oraux numériques). We further triangulate these datasets using linguistic-atlas data dating back to the turn of the century, as well as historical northern Occitan texts (written in the Haute–Loire) that also offer dialectological evidence. Taken together, these data suggest that northern Occitan demonstrably has nasal vowels and it has in some area also denasalized what were previously endogenous nasal vowels. Firstly, we show an acoustic/auditory analysis of nasalization in the varieties above based on spectrographic cues; secondly, we show that in the area where nasalization has disappeared, the denasalization has left residual phonological cues of nasalization. We demonstrate this in particular through a discussion of stressed /a/ +N sequences, where a velarization and rounding of /a/ can be observed. This, we argue, is a clear trace of phonological nasalization in the FP/Occitan transitional space. We then argue for other phonetics and phonological traces, including morpho-phonological alternations, whereby the nasal N feature has emerged as an affix in the expression of singular and plural paradigms.
|Book title||Les langues régionales de France: Nouvelles approches, nouvelles méthodologies, revitalisation|
|Publisher||Editions de la Société de Linguistique de Paris|
|Published||04 Jul 2023|