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Elision

From Academic Kids

For the music term, see elision (music).

Elision is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase, producing a result usually considered easier, or more euphonic, for the speaker to pronounce.

Elision may be deliberate or accidental, the latter often caused by the speaker being unfamiliar with the sounds. The sound may be slurred or muted. Elision from a few syllables often happens by the illiterate.

The elided form of a word or phrase may become a standard alternative for the full form if used often. In English this is called a contraction.

A synonym for elision is syncope. This term is most often associated with the elision of vowels between consonants (cf Latin tabula → Spanish tabla). Another form of elision is aphesis, which means elision at the beginning of a word (generally of an unstressed vowel).

The opposite of elision is epenthesis, whereby sounds are inserted into a word to ease pronunciation.

Contents

Written representation

Even though the effort that it takes to pronounce a word does not hold any influence in writing, a word or phrase may be spelt the same as it is spoken, for example, in poetry or in the script for a theatre play, in order to show the actual speech of a character. Also, some kinds of elision (as well as other phonological devices) are commonly used in poetry in order to preserve a particular rhythm.

In some languages employing the Latin alphabet, such as English, the omitted letters in a contraction are replaced by an apostrophe.

Examples

Template:IPA notice

English

Examples of elision in English (in IPA):

  • comfortable: →
  • fifth: →
  • him: →
  • laboratory: → (American English), (British English)
  • temperature: → ,
  • vegetable: →

Japanese

Elision is extremely common in the pronunciation of the Japanese language. In general, a high vowel ( or ) that appears in a low-pitched syllable between two voiceless consonants is devoiced, and often deleted outright. However, unlike French or English, Japanese does not often show elision in writing. The process is purely phonetic, and varies considerably depending on the dialect or level of formality. A few examples (slightly exaggerated; apostrophes added to indicate elision):

Matsushita-san wa imasu ka? ("Is Mr. Matsushita in?")
Pronounced: matsush'tasanwa imas'ka
roku, shichi, hachi ("six, seven, eight")
Pronounced: rok', shich', hach'
Shitsurei shimasu ("Excuse me")
Pronounced: sh'ts'reishimas'

Gender roles also influence elision in Japanese. It is considered masculine to elide, especially the final u of the polite verb forms (-masu, desu), whereas women are traditionally encouraged to do the opposite. However, excessive elision is generally viewed as basilectic, and inadequate elision is seen as overly fussy or old-fashioned. Some nonstandard dialects, such as Satsuma-ben, are known for their extensive elision.





Spanish

The change of Latin into the Romance languages included a significant amount of elision, especially syncope (loss of medial vowels). In Spanish, for example, we have:

  • tabla from Latin tabula
  • isla from Latin insula (through *isula)
  • alma from Latin anima (with dissimilation of -nm- to -lm-)
  • hembra from Latin femina (with dissimilation of -mn- to -mr- and then epenthesis of -mr- to -mbr-)

Tamil

Tamil has a set of rules for elision. They are categorised into different classes based on the phoneme where elision occurs.

Class name Phoneme
Kutriyalukaram u
Kutriyalikaram i
Aiykaarakkurukkam ai
Oukaarakkurukkam au
Aaythakkurukkam the special character akh
Makarakkurukkam m


See also

External links

fr:Élision it:Elisione

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