Vol. 6 (2020)

Divergent phonological behaviour in heritage speakers of Sardinian

Rosangela Lai
Università di Pisa
Published September 10, 2020
  • Heritage speakers,
  • Language change,
  • Phonological competence,
  • Phonological lexicon
How to Cite
Lai, R. (2020). Divergent phonological behaviour in heritage speakers of Sardinian. Quaderni Di Linguistica E Studi Orientali, 6, 241-255. https://doi.org/10.13128/qulso-2421-7220-9695


In the literature on heritage speakers, phonology is often described as a comparatively well-preserved component of language competence. It does seem to be the case that heritage speakers, even when not fully proficient in some areas of grammar, sound superficially native-like as far as phonology is concerned. But does this picture hold up under closer scrutiny? This contribution deals with Sardinian, a language with an especially complex interplay of a stratified phonological lexicon and various phonological rules at word-boundaries. We will consider younger speakers of this minority language, who have experienced a break in the parental transmission in favour of the dominant language (Italian) and see whether they are able to master the finer aspects of Sardinian phonology. Fieldwork results will be presented showing that a drastic simplification of the system is under way, probably under the influence of Italian itself.


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