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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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4 Final elision: evidence from spontaneous and elicited speech 183

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183 Chapter 4 Final elision: evidence from spontaneous and elicited speech 4.1 Introduction The two previous chapters presented elision in determiners and proclitics in Florentine Italian, building on evidence found in a corpus of Tuscan Italian (Chapter 2) and results from a production experiment in Florence (Chapter 3). The results of the corpus study may be said to be representative of spontaneous (formal and informal) speech, whereas those of the production experiment are representative of elicited speech. As has often been noted in the linguistic literature (e.g., Vaux & Cooper, 1999; Newman & Ratliff, 2001), despite the fact that both text collection of naturally occurring speech and its direct elicitation are powerful tools to analyze linguistic phenomena, much can be missed if only one tool is used exclusively. Hence, even though corpus studies enable the researchers to gain initial impressions about the occurrence of a phenomenon, corpus studies often do not allow researchers to verify all their hypotheses because certain important instances or contexts rarely appear in spontaneous speech. Thus, I decided to combine corpus and elicited data (cf. also Cabré & Prieto, 2005; Dehé, 2008; Campany, 2008). In line with these deliberations, it is desirable to establish the possible differences and similarities between elision in spontaneous and elicited speech and to examine the pooled data to get a deeper understanding of final elision. This chapter compares the data of the corpus study and those collected during the production experiment and discusses their pooled results. The chapter is structured as follows. Section 4.2...

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