Synaeresis

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This article is about synaeresis in linguistics. For syneresis in chemistry, see syneresis (chemistry).
Sound change and alternation
Fortition
Dissimilation

In linguistics, synaeresis (also spelled syneresis) is a phonological process of sound change in which two adjacent vowels within a word are combined into a single syllable.[1]

The opposite process, in which two adjacent vowels are pronounced separately, is known as diaeresis.

For any given word, speakers generally hold a traditional view about the standard pronunciation of that word. When realized in a careful reading style, each particular word is associated with this single, standard phonetic form.[2] However, each word also possesses multiple non-standard or reduced phonetic forms which are produced in a greater range of contexts.[3] These multiple variations in the pronunciation of a single word are referred to as allophonic variants. To classify one of these other forms as an allophonic variant of a word means that pronouncing the word in this way will not change the intended meaning of the word.[4]

Synaeresis is one of various phonological processes in which segments of words or phrases are lost. The general term for a loss of sound segments in the field of linguistics is known as elision.[5] Other types of elision include the processes of apheresis, syncope, apocope, synizesis, and synaloepha.[6]

Etymology[edit]

Synaeresis comes from Greek συναίρεσις (synaíresis), a "contraction", a "taking or drawing together",[7] from συναιρέω (synairéō), "(I) contract", "(I) grasp or seize together"[8] — derived from σύν, "with",[9] and αἱρέω, "(I) grasp, seize".[10] Semantically, it is easy to infer how this term evolved historically and eventually came to be applied to a process in which vowels are taken or drawn together.

Examples[edit]

French[edit]

Synaeresis is a common process in French. For example, the French word louer, which means ‘to praise,’ is typically pronounced as [lwe] according to transcriptions using the International Phonetic Alphabet.[11] This pronunciation reduces the [u] vowel to a [w], or a glide sound, when pronounced in conjunction with the [e] vowel sound. In this example, the standard pronunciation of louer uses the process of synaeresis to compress both of the original vowel sounds into one syllable. However, when speakers are asked to produce this word in a more controlled situation, in a careful reading style, French speakers often produce extended forms, or different allophonic variants for the word.[12] These forms of the word include [lue] according to IPA transcriptions, where the two vowels are pronounced separately using the process of diaeresis.[13]

Ancient Greek[edit]

In Ancient Greek, synaeresis is the pronunciation of two separate vowels as a diphthong (αι /ai̯/), and diaeresis is the separation of a diphthong into two vowels (αϊ /a.i/).

Certain words in Proto-Indo-European had two vowels separated by the consonant s or y (esu "good"). In Greek, this consonant changed to h (ehu), and was lost between vowels (eu). In Homer, the two vowels were sometimes pronounced separately (diaeresis: ἐΰ) and sometimes together (synaeresis: εὖ). Later in Attic Greek, they were always pronounced together.

Modern Greek[edit]

In Modern Greek, where original diphthongs are pronounced as monophthongs, synaeresis is the pronunciation of two vowel sounds as a monophthong (αι /e/, and diaeresis is the pronunciation of the two vowels as a diphthong (αϊ /ai̯/).

English[edit]

Synaeresis often occurs with English reduced vowels, as in Asia (/ˈzi.ə//ˈʒə/).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Trask, R. L. (2000). The Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP. p. 333. 
  2. ^ Laporte, Eric. "A Formal Tool for Modelling "Standard" Phonetic Variations". ISCA Archive. ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Laporte, Eric. "A Formal Tool for Modelling "Standard" Phonetic Variations". ISCA Archive. ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Laporte, Eric. "A Formal Tool for Modelling "Standard" Phonetic Variations". ISCA Archive. ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Trask, R. L. (2000). The Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP. p. 102. 
  6. ^ Trask, R. L. (2000). The Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP. p. 102. 
  7. ^ συναίρεσις. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  8. ^ συναιρέω in Liddell and Scott.
  9. ^ σύν in Liddell and Scott.
  10. ^ αἱρέω in Liddell and Scott.
  11. ^ Laporte, Eric. "A Formal Tool for Modelling "Standard" Phonetic Variations". ISCA Archive. ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Laporte, Eric. "A Formal Tool for Modelling "Standard" Phonetic Variations". ISCA Archive. ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Laporte, Eric. "A Formal Tool for Modelling "Standard" Phonetic Variations". ISCA Archive. ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 

See also[edit]