Wednesday, September 5, 2007

So that's where the missing syllables went!

Follow up to the missing syllables in Oregon and caramel:

I think that shwa has been dropped off, like unwanted goods tossed at a Goodwill donation center, on to realtor.

That is a two-syllable word, or should be, anyway. But so often, it's stretched tight in its lycra leisure suit to ree-luh-tor.

The poor word even been stretched on the rack by people in that very profession! Shouldn't that be part of basic training for them?

I suppose it makes up for the animal doctors whose titles are often shortened to vet-tree-nare-ree-uhn. (Oh, all right - I suppose if you have that many syllables, you can afford to lose one!)

So - can you think of any other words that are commonly pronounced with added or subtracted shwas/syllables? Please share!

I must say I enjoy hearing small children being liberal with syllables. Examples from my children in their pre-school days include:

straw-buh-rary (strawberry)
wool-fuhs (wolves)
lye-berry (library)
feb-yoo-ary (February).

Incidentally, there are terms for these practices. When you drop a syllable from the middle of a word, and turn Oregon into Organ, it's called syncope.

When you add a syllable to the middle of a word like realtor and turn it into ree-luh-tor, you are practicing epenthesis.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

War shin ton

And around this corner of the state we have 'cricks' that flow thru town.

G said...

Not exactly a syllable, but the letter 'w' is less and less frequently heard in its fully enunciated glory: "dubble-yew". More often than not, it's "dub-lew", which still sounds good. It degrades from there to "dub-yew", thence to its most aggravating form, "dubya." (Have you ever heard a web URL being spelled out with that prounciation? It's painful....dubya dubya dubya dot enunciate dot please...)

And how about this, involving 'WSU'. Not amounting to a full syllable, but why do some people pronounce it "dub-yew esh-oo"? Can't fathom that one!

I suppose the alternative is "War shin ton state yoon-VURS-tee" - I've certainly heard it, more than once.

Anonymous said...

Just listened to Morning Edition and a story about the ar tic.

Arc tic and ant arc tic.

Why do these things bother us so much?

Gillian Coldsnow said...

And on NWPR this morning, Bruce Bradberry pointed out one report in which "terrorists" fell victim to syncope - and became "terrists!"

I don't know why, but you're absolutely right - these things DO bother us. (Well, at least some of us!)

Greg said...

Example:
Com-fort-able
became: Comf-torble
and Cab-i-net
became Cab-net

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