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WEAK SYLLABLE DELETION

Definition:

Omitting the unstressed or weak syllable of a multisyllabic word.

Comment:

In this process it is the weak or unstressed syllable of a multisyllabic word that is omitted. The deleted syllable may be in the initial, the final or a medial position of the word.

Examples:

tomato /təˈmɑˌtəʊ/ → /mɑˌtəʊ/

elephant /ˈɛləˌfənt/ → /ˈɛˌfənt/

 

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In children between the ages of 2;00-4;00 years, whole syllables may also be deleted. The deleted syllables are characteristically unstressed. Recall that, in these so-called weak syllables, the neutral vowel frequently substitutes for the nuclear vowel. The most commonly deleted weak syllables are those that appear immediately before the stressed syllable. These are called pre-tonic syllables. Examples include:

 

banana

/ˈnɑˌnə/

/ˈnɑˌnə/

potato

/ˈteɪˌtəʊ/

/ˈteɪˌtəʊ/

pyjamas

/ˈʤɑˌməz/

/ˈʤɑˌməz/

 

In addition, unstressed syllables that occur in any position after the stressed syllable may also be deleted. For example:

 

caravan

/ˈkæˌvæn/

/ˈkæˌvæn/

octopus

/ˈɒkˌpʊs/

/ˈɒkˌpʊs/

nursery

/ˈnɜˌrɪ/

/ˈnɜˌrɪ/

 

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