Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Juliette Blevins

Subject Categories



Dialect of Italy, Eastern Lombard, Endangered language, Historical Linguistics, Phonetics, Phonology


This dissertation presents a linguistic study of the sound patterns of Camuno framed within Evolutionary Phonology (Blevins, 2004, 2006, to appear). Camuno is a variety of Eastern Lombard, a Romance language of northern Italy, spoken in Valcamonica. Camuno is not a local variety of Italian, but a sister of Italian, a local divergent development of the Latin originally spoken in Italy (Maiden & Perry, 1997, p. 2). It is an oral language with no writing system, and it is endangered. The language is understudied (Bonfadini, 1995, p. 26), and this thesis appears to be the first detailed study of Camuno phonology. The goal of this dissertation is linguistic and cultural. It will assess, characterize and explain the most striking properties of the sound patterns of Camuno as spoken in the upper part of the low valley; and it will provide a lasting documentation of an endangered language that may soon disappear. Notable sound patterns in Camuno discussed in this work include: a unique system of stress-dependent height harmony; final obstruent devoicing; and nasal/zero alternations originating from final-consonant loss. In analyzing these sound patterns in terms of their phonetic and diachronic sources, naturalistic data is combined with acoustic analysis and experimental paradigms. This description and analysis of Camuno phonology will provide a foundation for all those who wish to study Camuno word-structure, and other structural aspects of the language. At the same time, it illustrates the value of the Evolutionary approach in coming to understand a range of newly described sound patterns.

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