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Title:Phonological Elision in Malaysian Cantonese Casual Speech
Authors:YinHsiar Sabrina Ong
Abstract:In fast and casual speech, speakers of Malaysian Cantonese (MyCan) have the tendency to not fully articulate each syllable, there is elision of phonological segments during the utterance of familiar items, often characterized as either as allegro speech or as casual speech, akin to 'wanna' from 'want to' in English.

MyCan elision is commonly attested in casual utterances of trisyllabic strings, and it only applies at the boundaries between syllables, known as Window of Elision (WoE). The locus of elision is generally at the initial and medial syllables (WoE-1), sometimes triggering the merger of adjacent syllables and produces a disyllabic output, detectable through spectrographic analysis. This effect is attributed to the combination of the binarity requirement in casual prosody, and the rightheadedness of MyCan prosody.

Merging of syllables after casual speech elision is blocked if there are intervening residue consonants. This blocking produces bizarre obstruent syllables when the residue consonants are not allowed to form clusters. Interestingly, obstruent syllables are only produced when the input sequence involve reduplication of some kind. This is a pattern that cannot be accounted for it elision is solely triggered by the prosodic requirement. Rather it must be due to a constraint on redundant information found in reduplicants to surface during casual speech. Only unrecoverable information is allowed to surface.

There are also cases where elision cannot apply, no matter how familiar that item is. Clearly then, casual speech elision is restricted only to the susceptible segments. In fact, elision involves only either reduplicants or a very specific set of consonant segments: [j, w, h, t, tÊ°, s, ts, tsÊ°, k] for onsets and [i, u, m, n, Å‹, t, k] for codas.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1