Palatal n - the Italian Connection

Alex Passi a.passi at ALMA.UNIBO.IT
Wed Jun 4 09:03:01 UTC 2003

What Luis Gonzales-Reimann wrote reminds me of a similar situation in
Italian, where ñ is represented graphically by the digram "gn". In
Italian elementary school, back in the Fifties and Sixties, we used
to be submitted to the cruel and unusual practice of "orthographic
dictation", in which the teacher would dictate more or less
meaningless sentences full of spelling traps. One of these was the
distinction between "gn" and "ni " in words such as "sogno" and
"Antonio", etc.
Although in standard Italian the two sounds are slightly different,
some regional speakers (Veneto, Trentino, Eastern Lombardia) do not
distinguish between the two and pronounce both groups either as ñ or
as ny.

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