Syncopation/ Synaloepha/ Syncope

(270 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

A metrical term, either (a) a synonym for counterpointor (b) the omission or very light enunciation of an unstressed syllable for the purposes of the metre, also called elision. Syncopation in this sense is not an artificial distortion of language but rather a reflection of how we pronounce words in rapid speech. In the following line the middle syllable of violent is syncopated in the second occurrence but prolated (i.e. not syncopated) in the first:

These vi|olent| delights| have vi|olent ends| (Romeo and Juliet 2.6.9)

Syncopation of an unstressed vowel adjacent to another vowel, as here, is called synaloepha. S…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Groves, Peter Lewis. "Syncopation/ Synaloepha/ Syncope". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2008
[, accessed 26 November 2015.]