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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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5 The lexical representation of determiners and proclitics targeted by final elision 227

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227 Chapter 5 The lexical representation of determiners and proclitics targeted by final elision 5.1 Introduction This chapter concentrates on the lexical representation of Italian determiners and procltics whose final vowels may be left unrealized in prevocalic contexts. The lexical representation of determiners and proclitics is of crucial importance for the subsequent representation of obligatory, frequent, infrequent, and impossible elision. Section 5.2 focuses on the masculine singular determiners l(o), quell(o), and un(o) which are different with respect to the other determiners for two reasons: first, they undergo obligatory elision in prevocalic contexts and, second, they have multiple surface allomorphs whose distribution is not always phonologically transparent. Section 5.3 presents the historical evolution of the surface forms of l(o), quell(o), and un(o) as well as their distribution in Old Italian. Section 5.4 deals with the distribution of the surface forms of the same determiners in Contemporary Italian. Section 5.5 reviews previous accounts concerning the lexical representation of l(o), quell(o), and un(o), as well as the distribution of their surface forms. Section 5.6 reviews previous accounts of the lexical representation of the other Italian determiners and proclitics. Section 5.7 presents the theoretical considerations which bear on the lexical representation of Italian determiners and proclitics and the subsequent representation of final elision in Florentine Italian, i.e. the Italian syllable structure (cf. 5.7.1), Precompiled phrasal phonology (cf. 5.7.2), dominant vallomorphs (cf. 5.7.3) and lexically encoded selectional preferences (5.7.4). Section 5.8 presents my own proposal concerning...

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