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Vowel Elision in Florentine Italian


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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2 Final elision in spontaneous speech 73


73 Chapter 2 Final elision in spontaneous speech 2.1 Introduction This chapter provides a first account of final elision in vowel-final determiners and proclitics followed by vowel-initial nouns and lexical verbs in spontaneous speech. Given the fact that not all the function words analyzed are targets for elision with the same probability, I classify their frequency ranges as in (1), where the frequency rates are denominated by the adjectives printed in italics: (1) Obligatory elision: 100% Frequent elision: 50% 99% Infrequent/rare elision: 1% 49% Impossible elision: 0% This chapter is structured as follows. Section 2.2 introduces the determiners and proclitics analyzed. Section 2.3 presents the six factors tested and the relevant hypotheses, while Section 2.4 focuses on the source of the data and the methodology adopted. Section 2.5 discusses in greater detail the influence played by the six factors tested in the corpus study, i.e. function word class (cf. 2.5.1), the morphological categories of number and gender (cf. 2.5.2), speech style (cf. 2.5.3), vowel quality and the vowel phonological specification (cf. 2.5.4). Finally, Section 2.6 summarizes the main results obtained from the corpus analysis and discusses them. 74 2.2 The function words under analysis This study of elision in spontaneous speech focuses on sequences of vowel-final determiners followed by vowel-initial nouns, as well as vowel-final proclitics followed by vowel-initial lexical verbs. The twenty-seven determiners and the nine proclitics under analysis are reviewed in Tables 1 and 2, where their IPA transcription is followed by their orthographic form. All final unstressed...

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