The apocope is a rhetorical stylistic medium and encounters us in texts of all kinds and literary genre. The apocope is the omission of the last letter or the last syllables of a word. Thus, the apocope can be used to vary the linguistic sound, to change the dynamics of the speech, or to maintain a certain metrum.
The term can be derived from the Greek (ἀποκοπή) and translated with omission or cutoff. The translation refers to the meaning of the stylistic means: omission of letters or syllables [at the end of a word]. Let us look at an example.
“That’s what I always told you!”
This exclamation (exclamation) renounces the E at the end of the word. In principle, the sentence would read as follows: “I have always said that to you!” And do not omit the last vowel (a, e, i, o, u) of the verb. In German, by the way, the letter E is usually affected.
“I leave the friend to you as guarantor,
You may strangle him, strangle me. ”
The above verses are from the second stanza of Schiller’s Ballad Die Bürgschaft. In this case, the word escape is cut shorthand in order to preserve the rhythm of the text, whereby it is evident that the apocope is not only a shortening, but is also used for rhythmization.
Many colorful flowers are on the beach,
My mother has many garments of gold.
The above example is from the Erlkönig of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and does not include the final letter E. The omission is not marked by an apostrophe, which is why an accurate knowledge of the language is necessary to identify the apocope.
Note: The examples show only a small excerpt of the possibilities. It is important, however, that the apocopes can also mean that complete endings are missing and not just the last letters of a word. Otherwise, the style figure is very easy to recognize and name.
Apokope, Elision, Aphärese, Synkope
Of course, a word can not only be cut at the end and thus shortened, but also at the beginning or in the word center. These forms all have their own name, which we would like to provide you with as an overview in the following.
Elision: Is the ejection of a vowel in the mind between two consonants to facilitate the pronunciation or the word end before a vocal pronouncing word to avoid Hiatus. Consequently, the elision in the widest sense means any form of sound emitted. The apocope describes this only at the word end.
Apharese: Is the omission of an ante or an initial syllable (example: “‘s always comes as it must come!” Or “‘ s rosy on the heathen.”)
Syncope: Describes the expulsion of a short vowel in the word mind for reasons of metric or articulation (example: noble instead of aristocratic, go instead of walking).
Note: The style figures described leave letters or syllables out. The metaplasm for this is metaplasm. Metaplasms are all stylistic devices, in which words are changed against the rules of morphology or phonology. It does not matter whether this is done by adding, omitting, exchanging or replacing it.
Effect and function of the apocopes
Basically, it is difficult to ascribe an effect or function to a style figure. Then we run the risk of always reducing them to this effect and do not check whether the effect in our case is different. Nevertheless, we would like to give an overview.
Effect, function and effect of the apocope
The apocope is the omission of one or more syllables at the end of a word. Basically, this is used to change the dynamics of the speech, to vary the sound or to maintain a certain metrum.
In the German language, a vowel and, above all, the E are lost. In principle, this omission is indicated by apostrophes (,), but this is not always the case.
However, the apocope can also be a feature of the colloquial language. More and more often we hear that a final letter is omitted when talking (example: “I’m hungry!”)