Elision and its Functions
In colloquial English, the sonant [ r ] is sometimes pronounced after the vowels [ə] and [ɔ:] before the following vowel if the letter “r” is not present in the spelling of the word, for example, ˈAfrica a nd ˋAsia [ˈæfrɪk ə ʳ ən ˋeiʃə], I ˈs aw a ˋman [aɪ ˈs ɔ : ʳ ə ˋmæn]. This phenomenon is known as intrusive r ( Intrusive r). Elision and its Functions
In fluent colloquial speech, some consonants often drop out. This is a phonetic phenomenon is called Elisa ( Elision )
Elision is the removal of an unstressed syllable, consonants, or letters from a word or phrase, for the purpose of decreasing the number of letters or syllables when mixing words together. The missing letter is replaced by an apostrophe. Generally, the middle or end letter or syllable is eliminated, or two words are blended together, and an apostrophe is inserted.
Functions of Elision (Elision and its Functions)
Usually used deliberately, elisions are often found in prose and poetry with the objective to continue a regular meter, or to create flow in iambic pentameter. Since a specific meter is required, elision is employed to achieve the set number of syllables necessary to create flow in a piece. Several other languages use elision to cut down the number of words or to improve the flow of speech.
a) elision [t] between consonants:
- [st] + plosive consonants : last time [ˈlɑ: s ˋtaɪm], fast bus [ˈfɑ: s ˋbʌs];
- [st] + nasal sonants : best man [ˈbes ˋmæn], first night [ˈfɜ: s ˋnaɪt];
- [st] + slotted consonants : west side [ˈwes ˋsaɪd], best friend [ˈbes ˋfrend];
- [ft] + plosive consonants : lift boy [ˈlɪf ˋbɔɪ], stuffed chicken [ˈstʌf ˋʧɪkɪn];
- [ft] + nasal sonants : soft mattress [ˈsɒf ˋmætrəs], left knee [ˈlef ˋni:];
- [ft] + slotted consonants : left shoe [ˈlef ˋʃu:], soft snow [ˈsɒf ˋsnəʊ].
b) elision [d] between consonants:
- [nd] + nasal sonants : blind man [ˈblaɪn ˋmæn], kind nurse [ˈkaɪn ˋnɜ: s];
- [nd] + voiced explosive : tinned beans [ˈtɪn ˋbi: nz], stand guard [ˈstæn ˋgɑ: d];
- [md] + nasal sonants : skimmed milk [ˈskɪm ˋmɪlk], he seemed nice [hi: ˈsi: m ˋnaɪs];
- [md] + voiced plosives : it seemed good [ɪt ˈsi: m ˋgʊd], he climbed back [hi: ˈklaɪm ˋbæk].Elision and its Functions
c) elision [t], [d] between other plosive consonants:
- locked car [ˈlɒk ˋkɑ:], strict parents [ˈstrɪk ̀peərənts], he stopped behind [hi: ˈstɔ: p bɪˋhaɪnd];
d) historical elision within words:
grandmother [ˋgrænmʌðə], handsome [ˋhænsəm], castle [ˋkɑ: sł], postman [ˋpəʊsmən], draughtsman [ˋdrɑ: fsmən], sandwich [ˈsænwɪtʃ].
Examples of historical elision are also the loss of consonants [w, k, g] at the beginning of a word ( knee [ni:] , write [ra ɪ t] , gnat [n ӕ t]) ; consonant sounds [t] and [d] in combinations of three consonants in the middle of a word ( listen [l ɪsn] , Wednesday [‘wenzdɪ] , often [ɒfn]) ; the consonant [b] in combination [mb] at the end of words ( lamb [læm] , dumb [dʌm] , tomb [tu: m] , comb [kəʊm]) .Elision and its Functions
[t], [d] at the end of words can occur in fluent colloquial speech when they are followed by a word starting with a consonant sound: last time [ˈla: s ˈta ɪ m ], next day [ˈneks ˈde ɪ], old man [ˈəʊl ˈmæn ], kept quiet [ˈkep ˈkwa ɪ ət]
The guttural consonant [h] is often not pronounced in personal and possessive pronouns and verbs in an unstressed position: he, his, him, her, have, has had. Tell him [ tel ɪ m ].
f-Vowels can also be elusive.
The most common vowel articulation is  and [ə]: different [‘ d ɪ f ə rent ] → [‘ d ɪ fr ə nt ], similar [‘ s ɪ m ɪ l ə] → [‘ s ɪ ml ə ] .
Difference Between Contraction and Elision
By merely looking at contraction and elision examples, one would think the two are the same. However, there is a slight difference between them. Contraction is a more general term referring to the combination of two words to form a shorter word. For instance, can’t is a contraction of “can” + “not,” which is a combination of two words. On the other hand, elision is a specific term. It is the omission of sounds, syllables, or phrases, and replacing them with an apostrophe. For instance, ne’er is an elided form of “never.” Similarly, gonna is an elision of the phrase “going to.”Elision and its Functions
Examples of Elision
For example, the contraction “to” replaces “the” after the elision of the letter “e”.
Another example is “de + el” which is replaced by “del”
Sometimes it is used in the sense of ellipsis, which is the suppression, usually because it is understood, of a word or element of the sentence without losing its grammatical correction.
For example, in the sentence “I live in the city and she in the country”, there is an elision of the verb “live” because it is understood. Elision and its Functions
Examples of Elision in Literature
Example #1: Rape of Lock (By Alexander Pope
“What dire offence from am’rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing—This verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This, ev’n Belinda may vouchsafe to view…
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord t’assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor’d,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord…
Sol thro’ white curtains shot a tim’rous ray,
And op’d those eyes that must eclipse the day;
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake…”
In this excerpt, Pope has elided several words, such as amorous, which is elided into “am’rous,” even into “ev’n,” unexplored into “unexplor’d,” and similarly, through and opened are shortened to maintain regular pentameter.Elision and its Functions
Example #2: Dr. Faustus (By Christopher Marlowe)
“Settle thy studies, Faustus, and begin
To sound the depth of that thou wilt profess:
Having commenc’d, be a divine in show,
Sweet Analytics, ’tis thou hast ravish’d me!
Is, to dispute well, logic’s chiefest end?
Then read no more; thou hast attain’d that end:
Be a physician, Faustus; heap up gold,
Why, Faustus, hast thou not attain’d that end?
Whereby whole cities have escap’d the plague,
And thousand desperate maladies been cur’d?
The god thou serv’st is thine own appetite,
Wherein is fix’d the love of Belzebub:
To him I’ll build an altar and a church…”
Elision is employed perfectly in Dr.Faustus. In this excerpt, the author has eliminated unstressed syllables in order to give a smooth flow to the speech. The elided words are marked in bold.