This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Nuts and Bolts: apocope.

I love the sound of this word - apocope (you pronounce the final e). Apocope. It sounds like champagne bubbles bursting, or someone dropping their false teeth onto a xylophone.

However, apocope is neither of these things, and nor is it the theme tune for a children's cartoon about a family of hyperactive rabbits. 

Apocape is what is happening when the last sound or sounds of a word get left off.

You come across it a lot with names: Will, Tom, Ros, Soph. Even Sal, although that doesn't work very well round here in South East England because it results in a sort of double apocope (because no one round here pronounces a final L to a word) and so Sal comes out as Sow. Which is a bit infra dig.*

People are always in a hurry, so apocopes are everywhere, natch. When we eat our veg while watching an anime on the tele, or, being a bit emo, hurl abuse at the ref on the way to the gym or the lab, or even if we stay in and play pop on the piano, we're apocopating like mad.

There are those who sneer, but just think, you're doing really sophisticated grammar with a Greek name.

I think that's a cause for congrats, myself.

Thing To Do Today: apocapate. This word comes from the Greek apokoptein, which means to cut off.

*Infra dig = infra dignitatem, beneath one's dignity.

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