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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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6 Representation of final elision 303

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303 Chapter 6 Representation of final elision 6.1 Introduction This chapter focuses on the functioning and the representation of final elision in determiners and proclitics. This chapter is structured as follows. Section 6.2 presents the theoretical framework of Prosodic phonology, which is often used in phonological literature to account for the special status of function words. The same section also reviews the prosodification of function words in previous accounts. Section 6.3 is devoted to the analysis of final elision in Florentine Italian. The first part of this section extensively discusses the prosodification of Italian determiners and proclitics as PWd-external clitics (cf. 6.3.1). The second part of this section focuses on the functioning and the representation of final elision in determiners and proclitics (cf. 6.3.2). Obligatory elision in most masculine singular determiners is analyzed here as an instance of categorical phrasal allomorphy. Frequent elision in most singular determiners as well as infrequent elision in all plural determiners is represented as an instance of phrasal allomorphy with gradient selectional preferences. Infrequent elision in the singular accusative proclitics and in the accusative-dative proclitics is regarded as being carried out by two mechanisms, i.e. phrasal allomorphy with gradient selectional preferences and a prosodic rule applying on free clitics attaching at the level of the phonological phrase. Selectional preferences are not encoded in the case of plural accusative proclitics and elision is analyzed as being accomplished by the above-mentioned prosodic rule. Finally, impossible elision in dative le is accounted for by positing that dative le...

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