Dropped Syllables

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Does the word interesting have four syllables or three? Is it pronounced as “in-ter-es-ting” or “in-t(e)res-ting”? I found it’s very interesting to consider some people add an extra syllable to certain words, or they just simply drop it when speaking.

 

The word interesting is pronounced today with either three or four syllables. Most native speakers pronounce that word as three syllables when speaking fast. In the word interesting, the vowel ‘e’ in syllable ‘ter’ “in-t(e)r-es-ting” is often dropped, so it becomes “in-tres-ting”.

 

The process of losing a syllable is not rare in the English language. It is called syncope /ˈsɪŋ.kə.piin linguistics, where an unstressed syllable just gets lost. It is when a vowel in the middle is dropped when speaking fast.

 

Here are some words which have undergone syncope:

• Three syllable word becomes two syllables

– chocolate: cho-co-late ⇒ choc-late

– different: dif-fe-rent ⇒ diff-rent

– restaurant: res-tau-rant ⇒ res-trant

 

• Four syllable word becomes three syllables

– comfortable: com-for-ta-ble ⇒ comf-ter-ble or comf-te-ble

– vegetable: ve-ge-ta-ble ⇒ veg-ta-ble

 

• Five syllable word becomes four syllables

– laboratory: la-bo-ra-to-ry ⇒ la-bra-to-ry

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