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.