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|Sound change and alternation|
In phonetics, apheresis (/, /; British English: aphaeresis) is the loss of one or more sounds from the beginning of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel, thus producing a new form called aphetism (//).
Apheresis comes from Greek ἀφαίρεσις from ἀπό apo, "away" and αἱρέω haireo, "to take."
Apheresis as a historical sound change
In historical phonetics, the term "apheresis" is often but not always limited to the loss of an unstressed vowel. The Oxford English Dictionary gives this particular kind of apheresis the name aphesis (//; from Greek ἄφεσις).
Loss of any sound
Loss of an unstressed vowel
- Greek epískopos > Vulgar Latin *ebiscopus > Old English bisceop 'bishop'
- English acute > cute
- Middle English Egipcien > gipcyan, gipsen 'Gypsy'
- English alone > lone
- English amend > mend
- English escape + goat > scapegoat
- Old French e(s)vanisse > Middle English vanisshen 'vanish'
- Old French estable > English stable
- Old French estrange > English strange
- English esquire > squire
- Greek Assyria > Syria
Aphaeresis as a poetic device
- English it is > poetic 'tis
- English upon > 'pon
Aphaeresis in informal speech
- Spanish está > familiar Spanish [e]tá > ta ('is')
- English oath God's truth > familiar Australian English: strewth (exclamation)
- English America > 'Murica
|Look up apheresis or aphaeresis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Crowley, Terry (1997). An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press.