Italian as a "Pure" Language

Thomas McFadden tmcfadde at
Thu Apr 5 20:27:48 UTC 2001

A standard example of dialect mixture in English is the short list of
words with initial v proper to southern dialects instead of the f
expected in the standard language, e.g. vixen (cf. fox) and
vat (cf. NHG fass).  Of course in these examples both spelling and
pronunciation are from the same dialect, so they don't cause the
orthographical complications you're talking about, but one could imagine a
similar situation where the standard language would keep one spelling
while taking over a different pronunciation.  Something like this
apparently happened with 'colonel', but here we aren't talking about forms
from different dialects of English, rather borrowings from different
romance dialects (or so I've heard).

>         Dialect mixture is when words in one dialect have the form that is
> proper to another.  All or just about all dialects have it to some extent.
> Italian, for example, has some cases of intervocalic voicing, though ths is
> not in general characteristic of (Standard) Italian.  (It occurs in the
> dialects of the Po Valley, and French, Spanich, and Portugese.)   I cannot
> off the top of my head think of any examples from English, and perhaps the
> problem is not significant after all, but it would arise if a word was
> spelled in a way appropriate to the pronunciation of one dialect, but
> pronounced as in another.

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