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Vowel Elision in Florentine Italian

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Luigia Garrapa

This monograph investigates final vowel elision in spoken Italian. Specifically, the book sheds light on the functioning and the constraining factors of final vowel elision in sequences of vowel-final determiners followed by vowel-initial nouns and in sequences of vowel-final proclitics followed by vowel-initial lexical verbs. The analysis is based on «real» language, that is on corpus and elicited data as well as on their pooled results. The quantitative data are analyzed statistically in order to identify the factors which constrain final vowel elision (i.e. function word class, the morphological category of number realized by the final elidable vowel, and speech style). The representation of final vowel elision in determiners and proclitics proposed in this monograph relies on four theoretical constructs and on their interaction, i.e pre-compiled phrasal allomorphy, dominant allomorphs, lexically encoded selectional preferences among allomorphs, and prosodic rules.

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Abbreviations and symbols ..................................................................... 17 Introduction ............................................................................................ 21 1 Preliminaries .................................................................................. 29 1.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 29 1.2 Definition of final vowel elision and aim of the study .............................................................................. 29 1.3 Definition of Standard Italian and of the Florentine variety ................................................................. 32 1.4 Final vowel elision phenomena in Florentine Italian ..................... 33 1.5 The function words analyzed .......................................................... 35 1.5.1 Italian determiners ................................................................. 36 1.5.2 Italian weak pronouns ............................................................ 39 1.5.3 Italian determiners and proclitics as phonological clitics ..... 41 1.6 The phonology and morphology of the final elidable vowels ................................................................. 43 1.6.1 Italian stressed and unstressed vowels ................................... 43 1.6.2 Minimal phonological specification of the final vowels ....... 46 1.6.3 Minimal morphological specification of the final vowels .... 49 1.7 Elision in Contemporary Italian: the point of departure ................. 56 1.7.1 Elision in Italian grammars.................................................... 56 1.7.2 Elision in previous accounts .................................................. 59 1.7.3 Why is an analysis of Florentine Italian elision interesting? ................................................................ 64 1.8 A note on the realization of vowel sequences between words in spoken Italian .................................................... 65 1.9 Data and methods ........................................................................... 68 1.9.1 Corpus and elicited data ........................................................ 68 1.9.2 Statistical analysis ................................................................. 70 12 2 Final elision in spontaneous speech ............................................... 73 2.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 73 2.2 The function words under analysis ................................................. 74 2.3 Factors tested and hypotheses......................................................... 75 2.4 Data and methods ........................................................................... 76 2.5 Results ............................................................................................ 78 2.5.1 Elision and function word class ............................................. 78 2.5.2 Elision and the morphological categories of number and gender ................................................................ 80 2.5.2.1 Elision in determiners .............................................. 81 2.5.2.2 Elision in proclitics ................................................. 89 2.5.2.3 Summary ................................................................. 94 2.5.3 Elision and style .................................................................... 94 2.5.3.1 Elision in determiners .............................................. 96 2.5.3.2 Elision in proclitics ................................................. 99 2.5.3.3 Summary ............................................................... 102 2.5.4 Elision,...

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