previous next


LENGTHENING OF WORDS. I and e pronounced before vowels

The termination "ion" is frequently pronounced as two syllables at the end of a line. The i is also sometimes pronounced as a distinct syllable in soldier, courtier, marriage, conscience, partial, &c.; less frequently the e in surgeon, vengeance, pageant, creature, pleasure, and treasure.

The cases in which ion is pronounced in the middle of a line are rare. I have only been able to collect the following: “With ób | servá | tión | the whích | he vénts.” A. Y. L. ii. 7. 41. “Of Hám | let's tráns | formá | tión: | so cáll it.” Hamlet, ii. 2. 5. “Be chósen | with pró | clamá | tións | to-dáy.” T. A. i. 1. 190.

Gill, 1621, always writes "ti-on" as two syllables. But there is some danger in taking the books of orthoepists as criteria of popular pronunciation. They are too apt to set down, not what is, but what ought to be. The Shakespearian usage will perhaps be found a better guide.

Tión, when preceded by c, is more frequently prolonged, perhaps because the c more readily attracts the t to itself, and leaves ion uninfluenced by the t. “It wére | an hón | est áct | ión | to sáy so.” Othello, ii. 3. 145; Tr. and Cr. i. 3. 340. “Her swéet | perféct | ións | with óne | self kíng.” T. N. i. 1. 39. “Yet háve | I fiérce | afféct | ións | and thínk.” A. and C. i. 5. 17. “With sóre | distráct | ión | what I' | have dóne.” Hamlet, v. 2. 241. “To ús | in oúr | eléct | ión | this dáy.” T. A. i. 1. 235.

In “That sháll | make áns | wer tó | such quést | ións.
It is enóugh. | I'll thínk | upón | the quést | ións,2 Hen. VI. i. 2. 80, 82. it seems unlikely that "questions" is to be differently scanned in two lines so close together. And possibly, "it is (it's) enóugh," is one foot. Still, if "questions" in the second verse be regarded as an unemphatic (475) repetition, it might be scanned:

It ís | enóugh. | I'll thínk | upón | the quéstions.

The Globe has “Jóin'd in | commíss | ion wíth him; | but éither (466) |
Had bórne || the action of yourself, or else
To him || had left it solely.” Coriol. iv. 6. 14. But better arrange as marked above, avoiding the necessity of laying two accents on "commission." So Folio--which, however, is not of much weight as regards arrangement.

I is pronounced in "business" in “To sée | this bús | inéss. | To-mór | row néxt.” Rich. II. ii. 1. 217; Rich. III. ii. 2. 144; M. of V. iv. 1. 127; Coriol. v. 3. 4. “Divín | est cré | atúre, | Astræ' | a's dáughter.” 1 Hen. VI. i. 6. 4. So probably “Than thése | two cré | atŭres. | Whích is | Sebástian?” T. N. v. 1. 231. “But hé's | a tríed | and vál | iant sóld | iér.J. C. iv. 1. 28. “Your sís | ter ís | the bét | ter sól | diér.Lear, iv. 5. 3. “Máking | them wóm | en óf | good cárr | iáge.R. and J. i. 4. 94.Márri | age ís | a mát | ter óf | more wór | th.” 1 Hen. VI. v. 5. 55, v. 1. 21. “To wóo | a máid | in wáy | of márr | iáge.M. of V. ii. 9. 13. “While I' | thy ám | iá | ble chéeks | do cóy.” M. N. D. iv. 1. 2. “Young, vál | iánt, | wíse, and, | no dóubt, | right róyal.” Rich. III. i. 1. 245; Tempest, iii. 2. 27. “With th' án | ciént | of wár | on óur | procéedings.” Lear, v. 1. 32. “You have dóne | our plé | asúres | much gráce, | fair
ládies.” T. of A. i. 2. 151. So “Táke her | and úse | her át | your plé | asúre.B. and F. (Walker). “We'll léave | and thínk | it ís | her plé | asúre.Ib. “But 'tís | my lórd | th' Assíst | ant's plé | asúre.Ib. “He dáre | not sée | you. A't | his plé | asúre.Ib. “Yóu shall | have ránsom. | Lét me | have súr | geóns.Lear, iv. 6. 196. “If ón | ly to gó | '(484) wárm | were górg | eóus.Ib. ii. 4. 271. “Your mínd | is tóss | ing ón | the ó | ceán.M. of V. i. 1. 8; Hen. V. iii. 1. 14. “The néw | est státe. | Thís is | the sér | geánt.Macbeth, i. 2. 3. Similarly “But théy | did sáy | their práy | ers ánd | addréss'd
them.” Ib. ii. 2. 25; Coriol. v. 3. 105. “Hath túrn'd | my féign | ed práy | er ón | my héad.” Rich. III. v. 1. 21, ii. 2. 14. Even where "prayer" presents the appearance of a monosyllable, the second syllable was probably slightly sounded.

For i and e sonant in "-ied," see 474.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: