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…

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Groves, Peter Lewis. "Syncopation/ Synaloepha/ Syncope". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2008
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]