Synalepha

Examples

Spanish, Portuguese and Italian use synalepha; this is important when counting syllables in poetry. For instance in this hendecasyllable (11-syllable line) by Garcilaso de la Vega:

Los cabellos que al oro oscurecían.
The hair that endarkened the gold.

The words que and al form one syllable when counting them because of the synalepha. The same thing happens with -ro and os-, so that the line has eleven syllables (syllable boundaries shown by a period):

Los·ca·be·llos·queal·o·roos·cu·re·cí·an.

See also

Notes

  1. Greek συναλοιφή (or συναλιφή), from συναλείφω: συν- "together" and ἀλείφω "I anoint", "smear". Alternation between οι, ει, and ι in verb root is ablaut.
  2. W. Sidney Allen, Vox Graeca, chart of "Types of vowel-junction", p. 98.
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