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    #1

    syncopated vowel

    Dear Teachers,

    I am Emil Chalhoub and I have been majoring in English language studies at ELTE in Hungary. I took an exam today that was extremely difficult compared to previous tests. The sad fact is that I scored 26 points, and I need 27 points to pass the exam. Now, I am trying hard to find a point at any cost in order to pass it.
    I found a task which I think has an answer that is not obvious. (at least for me)

    The task is the following:

    The underlined vowel in one of the following words may be syncopated. Which?

    1, Pámela

    2, vanílla

    3, júbilee

    4, cólony


    My answer was the third one, jubilee; however, the professor told me that it was the first one. Why? Could we somehow explain it in such a way that the third one could be the answer too?

    Thank you in advance for your help,

    Emil Chalhoub
    Last edited by eechalhoub; 21-Jun-2011 at 20:59. Reason: minor mistake

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: syncopated vowel

    I have to admit that I didn't actually know what a syncopated vowel was, but I had a quick read-up on it. If I'm reading it correctly, it's where a vowel can be unpronounced given certain criteria. If that's the case, then "Pamela" would indeed fit that description.

    It is quite frequently pronounced "Pamla", certainly in the part of the UK where I live.

    If I have completely misunderstood the point, then apologies.

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    #3

    Re: syncopated vowel

    Firstly, thank you for you quick response. I think you got it right. After having taken the fact into consideration that Pamela can be pronounced "Pamla", can't we pronounce jubilee "joob-lee"?

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: syncopated vowel

    Quote Originally Posted by eechalhoub View Post
    Firstly, thank you for you quick response. I think you got it right. After having taken the fact into consideration that Pamela can be pronounced "Pamla", can't we pronounce jubilee "joob-lee"?
    Phew! Glad I got the point!

    I would say no to missing a syllable out of "jubilee".

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    #5

    Re: syncopated vowel

    Thank you very much, you helped me a lot.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: syncopated vowel

    Quote Originally Posted by eechalhoub View Post
    Firstly, thank you for you quick response. I think you got it right. After having taken the fact into consideration that Pamela can be pronounced "Pamla", can't we pronounce jubilee "joob-lee"?
    emsr2d2 is not alone in his ignorance; I had not come across the term 'syncopated vowel' before I read your post.

    I give 'Pamela' three syllables, though I accept that the second is weak. A pronunciation with two syllables does not sound too strange to me. I suspect that this is because the /m/ can be prolonged, allowing the semblance of a third syllable. The /b/ of jubilee, however, cannot be prolonged. Whilst I am sure that some people do pronounce 'jubilee' with two syllables, I think that this is far less common than a syncopated 'Pamela'.

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