“Phonological closeness between phonetically distinct vowel phonemes”
Standard Italian has seven vowels: /i e ɛ a o ɔ u/. But how strong is the distinction between /e/ vs. /ɛ/ and /o/ vs. /ɔ/? Do people really speak like the dictionary prescribes? Our study investigates the validity of the conventional descriptions of Italian and probes the correspondence between speakers’ productions and their intuitions, with the ultimate aim of understanding how such cases can be incorporated into theories of phonological contrast and historical change.