The Position of the Sammarinese Dialects in the Romagnol Linguistic Group

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University of Toronto - 976 pages
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Although Italo-Romance varieties continue to be documented, classified, and analyzed by dialectologists, many are at risk of not being recorded thoroughly and systematically before their imminent extinction. While considerable attention has been devoted to the phonetics, phonology, morphosyntax, and lexicon of the more archetypal Romagnol dialects spoken in the Po Valley, dialectologists have largely overlooked peripheral Romagnol varieties such as Sammarinese. The present dissertation begins to fill this lacuna in Italian dialectology by providing an historical and synchronic study of Sammarinese phonology and morphology based on the examination of old and modern texts as well as copious oral data. The main purpose of the thesis is to delineate diatopic variation within the tiny Republic through comparative analysis, while also addressing the need for a more complete and precise definition of Sammarinese's position in the Romagnol linguistic group. In addition to confirming Sammarinese's status as a Borderline Romagnol variety, the dissertation offers evidence that Sammarinese is divided geographically into two main dialectal groups: Northeastern and Southwestern. The secondary intent of the thesis is to provide systematic, comprehensive, and phonetically precise documentation of the phonology and morphology of a moribund language. iii The dissertation consists of five chapters. The Introduction includes a brief linguistic history which relates diatopic variation to geopolitical factors. The first chapter also contributes an assessment of the status of scholarship dedicated to Sammarinese dialectology. Chapter 2 examines diachronic phonetics, emphasizing the dichotomy between the traits which link Southwestern Sammarinese to Borderline Romagnol and those which join Northeastern Sammarinese with the Romagnol varieties of the Po Valley. Chapter 3 treats synchronic phonetics and proposes a generative phonology which aims to identify the diasystem underlying phonetic variation within the Republic. Chapter 4 analyzes historical declensional morphology, underscoring diatopic variation in internal flexion configurations as further evidence of the division between Northeastern and Southwestern Sammarinese. Chapter 5 examines diachronic verb morphology. The dissertation concludes with an assessment of linguistic aspects meriting further research and analysis.

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