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Aphaeresis

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Aphaeresis

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Aphaeresis is the omission of letters from the start of a word, typically removing a complete syllable.

Example

The king hath cause to plain.

Can I 'scape this dull place?

'tis a 'normous place!

Discussion

Removing letters at the start of a word and still keeping it pronounceable usually means that a complete syllable must be removed. To remove more than one syllable would make most aphaeresis incomprehensible, so the single syllable deletion is most common.

In written text, the missing letters may well be indicated with an apostrophe.

In speech, parts of words are often dropped from laziness or to allow faster speech. In poetry and metric prose, it ay be used as a device to keep the rhythm.

Classification: Distortion, Omission

See also

Prosthesis, Syncope, Apcope

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