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The erosion of elision

October 27, 2014

Here’s a trend in pronunciation I’ve been noticing – the disappearance of elision between words when the second of them starts with a vowel. For example, I recently heard on a BBC2 documentary, Wonders of the Monsoon,the phrase: which balloons t’ (micro-pause) around ten times its former size’. Now I would have thought it more natural to say which balloons too-waround ten times its former size. But the new style is not to run the words together but to insert a mini-break.

Similarly, I heard Jamie Cullum on the radio refer to th’ (micro-pause) energy of a particular track – not thee-yenergy as I’d have said.

This trend seems of a piece with pronouncing forever as faw-ever, which I have blogged about before. Is there some idea that not eliding words sounds more formal, more precise, as if one is really picking what one says with care? Maybe. But I prefer the ease and informality of elision.

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