1 Preliminaries 29
29 Chapter 1 Preliminaries 1.1 Introduction This chapter reviews the current theoretical understanding of final vowel elision in Florentine Italian and presents the methodology adopted in this study. Section 1.2 clarifies what is meant by ‘final vowel elision’ and Section 1.3 clarifies what is ment by ‘Standard Italian’ vs. ‘Florentine Italian’. Section 1.4 offers a descriptive overview of final vowel deletion phenomena appearing in Florentine Italian. Section 1.5 introduces the function words analyzed and their phonological status. Section 1.6 focuses on the phonology and morphology of final elidable vowels. Section 1.7 is a state-of-the-art report concerning elision in Contemporary Italian as presented in descriptive grammars and in previous studies, and it explains why a systematic analysis of Florentine Italian elision promises to be both interesting and challenging. Section 1.8 offers a note on the realization of vowel sequences between words in spoken Italian. Finally, Section 1.9 identifies the sources of the data as well as the method adopted and motivates the statistical analysis. 1.2 Definition of final vowel elision and aim of the study Final vowel elision (or simply ‘vowel elision’ or ‘elision’) refers to the obligatory or variable deletion of unstressed, word-final vowels before word-initial vowels. Elision results in the resolution of a sequence of two adjacent vowels across word boundaries. 30 Elision phenomena are not unique to Italian; in fact, they are widely found in Romance languages1, as well as in languages which do not belong to the Romance family.2 Although the final vowels of both function words...
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