Apocope

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Sound change and alternation
Fortition
Dissimilation

In phonology, apocope (/əˈpɒkəp/[1][2]) is the loss (elision) of one or more sounds from the end of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel.

Etymology[edit]

Apocope comes from the Greek ἀποκοπή apokopḗ from ἀποκόπτειν apokóptein "cutting off", from ἀπο- apo- "away from" and κόπτειν kóptein "to cut".

Historical sound change[edit]

In historical linguistics, apocope is often the loss of an unstressed vowel.

Loss of an unstressed vowel (with nasal)[edit]

  • Vulgar Latin pan[em] → Spanish pan (bread)
  • Vulgar Latin lup[um] → French lou[p] (wolf)

Loss of other sounds[edit]

Case marker[edit]

In Estonian and the Sami languages, apocopes explain the forms of grammatical cases. For example, a nominative is described as having apocope of the final vowel, but the genitive does not. Throughout its history, however, the genitive case marker has also undergone apocope: Estonian linn (a city) and linna (of a city) are derived from linna and linnan respectively, as can still be seen in the corresponding Finnish word. In the genitive form, the final /n/, while it was being deleted, blocked the loss of /a/. In colloquial Finnish, the final vowel is sometimes omitted from case markers.

Grammatical rule[edit]

Some languages have apocopations that are internalized as mandatory forms. In Spanish and Italian, for example, some adjectives that come before the noun lose the final vowel or syllable if they precede a noun (mainly) in the masculine singular form. In Spanish, some adverbs and cardinal and ordinal numbers have apocopations as well.

  • Adjectives
    • Grande (big/great) → grangran mujer (feminine) (great woman. However, if the adjective follows the noun, the final syllable remains, but the meaning may also change: mujer grande, meaning large woman)
    • Bueno (good) → buenbuen hombre (masculine) (good man; the final vowel remains in hombre bueno, with no accompanying change in meaning)
  • Adverbs
    • Tanto (so much) → tan (so) → tan hermoso (so beautiful)
  • Cardinal numbers
  • Ordinal numbers
    • Primero (first) → primerprimer premio (first prize)
    • Segundo (second) → según (according to) → según él (according to him)
    • Tercero (third) → tercertercer lugar (third place)
    • Postrero (final) → postrerpostrer día (final day)

Informal speech[edit]

Various numerous sorts of informal abbreviations might be classed as apocope:

  • English photographphoto
  • English animation → Japanese アニメーション animēshon → アニメ anime
  • English synchronizationsync, synch, syncro, or synchro
  • English AlexanderAlex and so on with other hypocorisms
  • French sympathique(s)sympa meaning nice
  • French réactionnaireréac meaning reactionary
  • Spanish fotografíafoto meaning photography
  • Spanish televisióntele meaning television (cf. French « télé » for « télévision »)

For a list of similar apocopations in the English language, see List of English apocopations.

Diminutives in Australian English lists many apocopations.

The process is also linguistically subsumed under one called clipping, or truncation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Apocope". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  2. ^ "Apocope". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  • Crowley, Terry. (1997) An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press.

External links[edit]