Aphesis

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Aphesis, with its adjective aphetic, is a concept from the study of language. It labels a change in words, which can be seen in the formation of apparently new ones by the loss of an unaccented vowel at the start of the word. It is a sub-genre of aphaeresis (losing letters or syllables from the beginning of words). In aphesis proper, the loss is that of vowels only. However, this very small distinction is being lost: as A. Western said in 1930 (only 50 years after the word was coined), "I do not quite see the difference between aphesis and aphæresis, but use the former term as the shorter and therefore more convenient of the two" (in A grammatical miscellany offered to Otto Jespersen on his seventieth birthday, Allen and Unwin, p.135, cited OED).