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Word syllables

Started by Virginia (Gbug), September 21, 2023, 03:31 AM

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Virginia (Gbug)

What do you all think about words that sound like one syllable (but are actually two) in poetry? For example, orange, squirrel, crayon...

I took an excellent picture book rhyming webinar through Highlights and they talked about this. My brain just really hears one syllable for these words!! Do any of you hear them as two?? I wonder if this is a geographical dialect difference?

I wanted to use squirrel in something I'm writing, but then I realized it's unfortunately two syllables. 😔

Vijaya

Hmmm, avoid them? But if you have a rhyme scheme and a perfect rhyme, then the reader will anticipate how to say it. FWIW, I hear all these as two syllables. or-range (not ornge) sqi-rel (not sqirl) cray-on (how would you pronounce it as just a single syllable? Cron? Not even a little dipthong?)
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Debbie Vilardi

I have a friend who pronounced crayon as cran. It is a regional dialectic issue. For me, these are all two syllables.
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Virginia (Gbug)

Hmm...I hear it and say it as "cran."

I find the dialect differences fascinating!!

kelliebeggs

I live in the US South, and I say crayon w 2 syllables, but A LOT of people pronounce it crown here.

HaroldU

For me, squirrel and crayon are two-syllable words but orange is one. I grew up as a faculty brat on the East Coast but perhaps a key point here, my father was English.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: https://www.underdown.org/
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JulieM

I'm an Aussie and hear/say all those words as two syllables. It's one of the difficulties associated with publishing rhyming books in different territories.
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Virginia (Gbug)

Interesting!! I grew up near the Great Lakes. Anyone else?

Debbie Vilardi

The friend who says Cran is from Syracuse, NY. Also near the Great Lakes. I'm from NY metro.
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

dewsanddamps

Virginia, I'm a Midwesterner and hear "squirrel" as one syllable but the rest as two.

A few years ago I wrote a rhyming PB ms and was miffed when East Coast beta readers told me my meter was off. Turns out they all read "general" as three syllables and it's two for me. And then there are those nuts who think caramel has three syllables...  :turnblue
Learning to Swear in America, 2016
What Goes Up, 2017
The Constitution Decoded, 2020
The Presidents Decoded, 2023
Hearts on Thin Ice, 2024

Virginia (Gbug)

Lol, I hear caramel as three!!

dewsanddamps

Learning to Swear in America, 2016
What Goes Up, 2017
The Constitution Decoded, 2020
The Presidents Decoded, 2023
Hearts on Thin Ice, 2024

Ev

I'm from Kentucky and squirrel rhymes with 'curl' for me, but the rest are 2 syllables.

And Katie, my husband and I have argued about caramel for 45 years.

dewsanddamps

Quote from: Ev on September 25, 2023, 06:05 PMAnd Katie, my husband and I have argued about caramel for 45 years.

 :dr  :dr  :dr  Ev, my husband and I argue about the Treaty of Versailles.
Learning to Swear in America, 2016
What Goes Up, 2017
The Constitution Decoded, 2020
The Presidents Decoded, 2023
Hearts on Thin Ice, 2024

olmue

My mom (from Idaho, age 92) says "cren" for "crayon," but she's the only one I've heard say that. "Orange" definitely has two syllables for me. "Squirrel" has two for me as well, although I guess in running conversation, it does tend to crunch down into "sqwerl." But if I was trying to meter or rhyme any of them, they all show up absolutely as two-syllable words in my mind.

This is definitely one of the hazards of doing rhyme and/or meter in English, though. There are some significant dialectal differences that can really throw these things off if you are trying to work across regions.

I'm definitely in the carmel camp, though!

Debbie Vilardi

To me, Carmel is a place. Caramel is a food. (But I certainly hear carmel as the food in a lot of conversations.)
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Ev

Quote from: dewsanddamps on September 26, 2023, 06:59 PM:dr  :dr  :dr  Ev, my husband and I argue about the Treaty of Versailles.

Katie, if we're talking about pronunciations, you do know, of course, that there's a town about 20 miles from me named Versailles and it's pronounced Versails. Do you and your husband argue about the correct way to pronounce the city?

David Wright

My biggest revelation was Australia. If you don't add an invisible 'i' to make it sound like Austrailia then you can understand the aussie accent better :)

Pons

For me, they are all one syllable except for general, which is two. West Coast. :)

dewsanddamps

Quote from: Ev on September 27, 2023, 06:45 PMKatie, if we're talking about pronunciations, you do know, of course, that there's a town about 20 miles from me named Versailles and it's pronounced Versails. Do you and your husband argue about the correct way to pronounce the city?
Sorry, Ev, I missed this earlier. No, we don't argue about the pronunciation. But there are plenty of wacky pronunciations in the Midwest, as you're aware--NeVAYda (spelled Nevada), Iowa; Cairo, IL with a long /a/--the list is lengthy! "Versails" would take some getting used to, though!
Learning to Swear in America, 2016
What Goes Up, 2017
The Constitution Decoded, 2020
The Presidents Decoded, 2023
Hearts on Thin Ice, 2024

Pons

I'm west coast and hear all of them as one syllable. I think V is right. If your rhyme scheme is clear enough, people will adapt appropriately.

AnneB

Quote from: Ev on September 27, 2023, 06:45 PMthere's a town about 20 miles from me named Versailles and it's pronounced Versails

Ohio has a Versails, too, as well as a Marsails, a Mount Peeler and a Terry Hut, leading to occasional hilarity when attempting to discuss Versailles, the frequently mispelled Marseilles, Montpelier, and Terra Haute with out-of-staters. The names are relics of early French settlements in the 1600s and 1700s.

Debbie Vilardi

I love the history of place names. Some of the names around here are Native American, but in upstate New York, you can drive through Rome, Mexico, Delhi, Ithaca, Paris, Amsterdam, Geneva, Peru, and Damascus among others.
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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