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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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Conclusion 365

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365 Conclusion Building on quantitative data, i.e. on corpus data (4,405 contexts), on elicited data (2,259 contexts), and on their pooled results (6,456 contexts), this monograph investigates the functioning and the constraining factors of final vowel elision in determiners and proclitics in Florentine Italian and advances a proposal for its representation within the framework of a phonological theory. In the few remaining pages, I will recapitulate the main findings achieved throughout this monograph. The function words analyzed are twelve determiners (i.e. un(o), l(o), una, la, le, quell(o), quella, quelle, questo, questa, questi, and queste) and nine proclitics (i.e. lo, la, li, leacc, mi, ti, ci, vi, and ledat). Five factors that may be influencing final elision were tested both in the corpus study and in the production experiment: (i) function word class (i.e. determiners vs. proclitics); (ii) the morphological category of gender (i.e. [ ] vs. [feminine]) expressed by final vowels; (iii) the morphological category of number ([ ] vs. [plural]) realized by final vowels; (iv) the quality (i.e. high vs. non-high) of the elidable vowels; and (v) the phonological specification for place and height of the elidable vowels. Only two of the five factors investigated turned out to significantly constrain final elision, i.e. function word class and the morphological category of number. With respect to function word class, the final vowels of determiners present higher elision rates (86 percent) than the final vowels of proclitics (28 percent) in the pooled data. As far as the morphological category...

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