The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2019 Fund Drive (
Ask Your Question

Why is "antithesis" not prounced "anti-thesis"

asked 2017-10-08 19:35:08 -0400

dphofnor gravatar image

Presumably the word is a combination of two others, so why does its pronunciation not reflect that?

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete

1 answer

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted

answered 2017-11-09 09:47:12 -0400

ksteimel gravatar image

When the anti- prefix is attached, the stress pattern of the word changes. The stressed 'the' syllable in 'thesis' is no longer stressed when combined with 'anti-' so it undergoes vowel reduction. In English, vowels that are not stressed become reduced to 'UH' or 'IH' (depending upon what dialect you speak). This is, I believe, what causes the main difference in pronunciation between antithesis and anti-thesis.

edit flag offensive delete link more
Login/Signup to Answer

Question Tools

1 follower


Asked: 2017-10-08 19:35:08 -0400

Seen: 356 times

Last updated: Nov 09 '17