The phonology of elision and metrical figures in Italian versification
Current thought in Italian metrics considers that all processes affecting adjacent vowels within a verse, whether synaloepha or dialoepha, are stylistic phenomena unrelated to phonological phenomena such as elision, hiatus, aphaeresis and apocope. This belief is perhaps due to the fact that juncture phenomena almost never have counterparts at the graphic level. The aim of this presentation is to show, rather, that numerous “metrical exceptions” are to be explained on the basis of the phonology of the language or of a dialectic between the written and oral registers. On the basis of a corpus formed by Dante’s <i>Divina Commedia</i>, Petrarch’s songbook, Ariosto’s <i>Orlando Furioso</i>, Tasso’s <i>La Gerusalemme Liberata</i> and Marino’s <i>Adone</i>, we will attempt to argue for a distinction between “false” synaloephas and dialoephas (which are in fact elisions or obligatory hiatuses) and “graphic” synaloephas and dialoephas (in which it seems reasonable to posit pressure on the oral register from the written register).