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Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Nuts and Bolts: syncope.

I thought that syncope was when you faint because of a lack of blood in the brain - and, as it happens, I was right - but it's also a language term.

How many syllables are there in the word camera?

Three? Cam-er-a?

Now say camera out loud.

Cam-ra.

It's two, now, isn't it.

The same sort of thing happens with the words chocolate and aspirin. That's a syncope.

Syncope sometimes depends upon which dialect of a language you speak - or, indeed, if you're speaking at all. Favourite is often fayv-rit, but not if you're singing about Raindrops on Roses. On the other hand if you're singing about memory in the musical Cats, then it'll be Mem-ree.

The general rule, though, is that our speech is much sloppier than we like to think it is.

Yes, there are syncopes just evrywhere.

There reely are.

Words To Use Today: one with a syncope. (You say it SINkoppee). This word comes from the Greek word sunkopē, a cutting off, from sun- together, plus koptein, to cut.


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