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Euphony

Euphony

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Euphony describes flowing and aesthetically pleasing speech. Poetry is often euphonic, as is well-crafted literary prose.

Many languages have evolved various phonological rules or systems which promote euphony by making words easier to pronounce.

Turkish is one example of a highly euphonic language that employs vowel harmony, a system by which the vowels in all agglutinated affixes are variable and shift to match the vowels of the root of the word to which they are attached.

Examples of Euphony

The lovely Linda strolled through the beautiful spring garden.

Example:

d + vowel + m = the suffix for the first person singular past tense of all verbs.

To the root of the verb 'to think' (düşün-) is added '-düm', giving 'düşündüm'
To the root of the verb 'to find' (bul-) is added '-dum', giving 'buldum'
To the root of the verb 'to finish' (bit-) is added '-tim'*, giving 'bittim'

-* the 'd' changing to 't' in this example (as the root already ended in a 't') is another instance of euphony.

Euphony is exhibited by many languages, including the Romance and Germanic languages in the alteration of prefixes before certain consonants:

Consider the Latin preposition 'cum' meaning 'with':

'Cum' becomes 'com-' in English, and is found in words such as 'compound', 'compliant' and 'incompetent', but the 'm' may change in accordance with the letter that follows it, as in 'convolution', 'correspond', or 'collect'. Such euphonic evolution is understandable when the place of articulation of sounds is taking into consideration: both an 'm' sound and a 'p' sound are made with the lips (bilabial), and so the consonant cluster of '-mp-' in the middle of a word is eay to articulate, whereas 'com-nect' was bound to mutate into 'connect' with time.

Elision (the dropping of sounds which make a word difficult to pronounce, or the addition of sounds to aid smooth transition between words) is another example of euphony. The addition of a sound is known as epenthesis. Contractions are a form of elision that eliminate awkward gaps between words. The French language employs elision in such phrases as:

"Comment s'appelle-t-il?" ("What's he called?"), where the "-t-" has no meaning, but is inserted as a 'buffer' to avoid the awkward tongue-twisitng nature of the 'l's in "appelle-il".

"Je l'avais dit aux enfants" ("I had told the children"), where the 'x' of "aux", which is usually silent (ie, goes unpronounced), is ennunciated in this example (as a 'z' sound) owing to the presence of a vowel at the beginning of the following word "enfant". Without the 'z', a tricky combination of successive vowels would have occurred, thus its insertion is more euphonic.

Poets and writers attempting to create euphony in their work draw on literary devices such as alliteration and internal rhyme.

Translators often have difficulty in expressing the euphony of a text of another language.

Synonyms and antonyms

The opposite of euphony is cacophony, which refers to harsh sounds. Closely related to cacophony is dissonance, which implies a combination of tones or sounds that clash together. The opposite of dissonance, similar to euphony, is consonance. The terms dissonance and consonance are also used in music to describe the 'beauty' or 'clashing-ness' of harmony. Cacophony and euphony usually refer to speech.de:Euphonie eo:Eŭfonio fr:Euphonie nl:Euphony ja:音便 pl:Eufonia pt:Eufonia sk:Eufónia

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