Syncope (phonology)

Last updated

In phonology, syncope ( /ˈsɪŋkəpi/ ; from Ancient Greek : συγκοπή , romanized: sunkopḗ, lit.  'cutting up') is the loss of one or more sounds from the interior of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel. It is found in both synchronic and diachronic analyses of languages. Its opposite, whereby sounds are added, is epenthesis.

Contents

Synchronic analysis

Synchronic analysis studies linguistic phenomena at one moment of a language's history, usually the present, in contrast to diachronic analysis, which studies a language's states and the patterns of change across a historical timeframe. In modern languages, syncope occurs in inflection, poetry, and informal speech.

Inflections

In languages such as Irish, the process of inflection can cause syncope:

imir (to play) should become *imirím (I play). However, the addition of the -ím causes syncope and the second-last syllable vowel i is lost so imirim becomes imrím.
inis (island) should become *inise in the genitive case. However, instead of *Baile na hInise, road signs say, Baile na hInse (the town of the island). Once again, there is the loss of the second i.

If the present root form in Irish is the result of diachronic syncope, synchronic syncope for inflection is prevented.

As a poetic device

Sounds may be removed from the interior of a word as a rhetorical or poetic device: for embellishment or for the sake of the meter.

Informal speech

Various sorts of colloquial reductions might be called "syncope" or "compression". [1]

Contractions in English such as "didn't" or "can't" are typically cases of syncope.

Diachronic analysis

In historical phonology, the term "syncope" is often limited to the loss of an unstressed vowel, in effect collapsing the syllable that contained it: trisyllabic Latin calidus (stress on first syllable) develops as bisyllabic caldo in several Romance languages.

Loss of any sound

Loss of unstressed vowel

A syncope rule has been identified in Tonkawa, an extinct American Indian language in which the second vowel of a word was deleted unless it was adjacent to a consonant cluster or a final consonant. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Romance languages Languages derived from Vulgar Latin

The Romance languages are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries. They are a subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language family. The six most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan. Of the major Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin, followed by Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese, and the most divergent being French. Taking into account all the Romance languages, including national and regional languages, it is seen that Sardinian and Italian are together the least differentiated from Latin and that Occitan is closer to Latin than French. However, all Romance languages are closer to each other than to classical Latin.

In Historical linguistics, sound change is the change of a language's pronunciation over time. Sound change can consist of the replacement of one speech sound by another, or a more general change to the speech sounds that exist such as merging together two sounds or creating a new sound. Speech sounds can be completely lost of the affected sound, or a new sound could be created a place where there had been none. Sound changes can be environmentally conditioned, meaning that the change only occurs in a some sound environments, whereas in other environments the same speech sound is not affected by the change.

In linguistics, an elision or deletion is broadly defined as the omission of one or more sounds in a word or phrase. However, it is also used to refer more narrowly to cases where two words are run together by the omission of a final sound. An example is the elision of word-final /t/ in English if it is preceded and followed by a consonant: ‘first light’ is often pronounced /fɜ:s laɪt/. Many other terms are used to refer to particular cases where sounds are omitted.

Schwa Vowel sound as in the first syllable of "about"

In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa is the mid central vowel sound in the middle of the vowel chart, denoted by the IPA symbol, or another vowel sound close to that position. An example in English is the vowel sound of the 〈a〉 in the word about. Schwa in English is mainly found in unstressed positions, but in some other languages it occurs more frequently as a stressed vowel.

Assimilation is a sound change in which some phonemes change to be more similar to other nearby sounds. It is a common type of phonological process across languages. Assimilation can occur either within a word or between words. It occurs in normal speech, and it becomes more common in more rapid speech. In some cases, assimilation causes the sound spoken to differ from the normal pronunciation in isolation, such as the prefix in- of English input pronounced with phonetic [m] rather than [n]. In other cases, the change is accepted as canonical for that word or phrase, especially if it is recognized in standard spelling: implant pronounced with [m], composed historically of in + plant.

Irish phonology Phonology of the Irish language

The phonology of the Irish language varies from dialect to dialect; there is no standard pronunciation of Irish. Therefore, this article focuses on phenomena that pertain generally to most or all dialects, and on the major differences among the dialects. Detailed discussion of the dialects can be found in the specific articles: Ulster Irish, Connacht Irish, and Munster Irish.

The phonology of Portuguese varies among dialects, in extreme cases leading to some difficulties in intelligibility. This article focuses on the pronunciations that are generally regarded as standard. Since Portuguese is a pluricentric language, and differences between European Portuguese (EP), Brazilian Portuguese (BP) and Angolan Portuguese (AP) can be considerable, varieties are distinguished whenever necessary.

In phonology, epenthesis means the addition of one or more sounds to a word, especially to the interior of a word. The word epenthesis comes from epi- "in addition to" and en "in" and thesis "putting". Epenthesis may be divided into two types: excrescence for the addition of a consonant, and for the addition of a vowel, svarabhakti or alternatively anaptyxis. The opposite process, where one or more sounds are removed, is referred to as elision.

Stress is a prominent feature of the English language, both at the level of the word (lexical stress) and at the level of the phrase or sentence (prosodic stress). Absence of stress on a syllable, or on a word in some cases, is frequently associated in English with vowel reduction – many such syllables are pronounced with a centralized vowel (schwa) or with certain other vowels that are described as being "reduced". Various phonological analyses exist for these phenomena.

In phonetics and phonology, apheresis is the loss of a word-initial vowel producing a new form called aphetism. In a broader sense, it can refer to the loss of any initial sound from a word or, in a less technical sense, to the loss of one or more sounds from the beginning of a word.

In phonetics, vowel reduction is any of various changes in the acoustic quality of vowels as a result of changes in stress, sonority, duration, loudness, articulation, or position in the word, and which are perceived as "weakening". It most often makes the vowels shorter as well.

In phonology, apocope is the loss (elision) of a word-final vowel. In a broader sense, it can refer to the loss of any final sound from a word.

In linguistics, assibilation is a sound change resulting in a sibilant consonant. It is a form of spirantization and is commonly the final phase of palatalization.

In linguistics, apophony is any sound change within a word that indicates grammatical information.

Like many other languages, English has wide variation in pronunciation, both historically and from dialect to dialect. In general, however, the regional dialects of English share a largely similar phonological system. Among other things, most dialects have vowel reduction in unstressed syllables and a complex set of phonological features that distinguish fortis and lenis consonants.

A metaplasm is generic term for almost any kind of alteration, whether intentional or unintentional, in the pronunciation or the orthography of a word. The change may be phonetic only, such as pronouncing Mississippi as Missippi in English, or acceptance of a new word structure, such as the transformation from calidus in Latin to caldo (hot) in Italian. Orthographic metaplasms have been used in philosophy to advance humanity's conceptual terrain, such as when Derrida adapted Heidegger's Destruktion into deconstruction or the French term différence into différance. Changes at either level may or may not be recognized in standard spelling, depending on the orthographic traditions of the language in question. Originally the term referred to techniques used in Ancient Greek and Latin poetry, or processes in those languages' grammar.

The phonology of the Ojibwe language varies from dialect to dialect, but all varieties share common features. Ojibwe is an indigenous language of the Algonquian language family spoken in Canada and the United States in the areas surrounding the Great Lakes, and westward onto the northern plains in both countries, as well as in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec. The article on Ojibwe dialects discusses linguistic variation in more detail, and contains links to separate articles on each dialect. There is no standard language and no dialect that is accepted as representing a standard. Ojibwe words in this article are written in the practical orthography commonly known as the Double vowel system.

As the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) broke up, its sound system diverged as well, as evidenced in various sound laws associated with the daughter Indo-European languages.

Portuguese orthography Alphabet and spelling

Portuguese orthography is based on the Latin alphabet and makes use of the acute accent, the circumflex accent, the grave accent, the tilde, and the cedilla to denote stress, vowel height, nasalization, and other sound changes. The diaeresis was abolished by the last Orthography Agreement. Accented letters and digraphs are not counted as separate characters for collation purposes.

Syntactic gemination, or syntactic doubling, is an external sandhi phenomenon in Italian, some Western Romance languages, and Finnish. It consists in the lengthening (gemination) of the initial consonant in certain contexts.

References

    1. Wells, John C. (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (2nd ed.). Longman. pp.  165–6. ISBN   0-582-36467-1.
    2. "syncope noun - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com". www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com. Retrieved 2020-05-04. the pronunciation of library as /laɪbri/
    3. Hayes, Bruce (2009). Introductory Phonology . Wiley-Blackwell. pp.  255.