Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Santa Cruz

Degemination in Japanese Loanwords from Italian


In Japanese native phonology, geminate consonants are contrastive (as in [kata] ‘shoulder’ vs. [katta] ‘win-PAST’), but geminates in loanwords can have differing sources and motivations (see Kubozono, Itô, Mester 2009, Kawagoe 2015, and references cited therein): we see gemination of singletons in loanwords from English, in which consonant length is not distinctive ([kæt] E ng ‘cat’ > [kjatto] Jp ), whereas we see geminate-preservation in loanwords from Italian ([espresso] It ‘espresso’ > [esupuresso] Jp), in which the length of most consonants is contrastive. In loanwords from Italian, however, not all geminates are preserved. This research addresses the cases of degemination, and captures the pattern as stress-based neutralization (Beckman 1998) of consonant length within the framework of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993). Through a database built from dictionaries and a nonce-adaptation survey conducted online, it confirms the preference towards geminates in penultimate position and the ban against geminates in other positions, especially for liquid geminates.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View