Elision is the expulsion of a short vowel at the end of a word before a word beginning with a vowel. An apostrophe (') marks the place where the vowel is elided.
ἀλλ' (ὰ) ἄγε, ἔδωκ' (α) ἐννέα, ἐφ' (= ἐπὶ) ἑαυτοῦ ( cross64), ἔχοιμ' (ι) ἄν, γένοιτ' (ο) ἄν.
a. Elision is often not expressed to the eye except in poetry. Both inscriptions and the Mss. of prose writers are very inconsistent, but even where the elision is not expressed, it seems to have occurred in speaking; i.e. ὅδε εἶπε and ὅδ' εἶπε were spoken alike. The Mss. are of little value in such cases.
Elision affects only unimportant words or syllables, such as particles, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions of two syllables (except περί, ἄχρι, μέχρι, ὅτι 72 b, c), and the final syllables of nouns, pronouns, and verbs.
a. The final vowel of an emphatic personal pronoun is rarely elided.
Elision does not occur in
a. Monosyllables, except such as end in ε (τέ, δέ, γέ).
b. The conjunction ὅτι that? (ὅτ' is ὅτε when).
c. The prepositions πρό before, ἄχρι, μέχρι until, and περί concerning (except before ι).
d. The dative singular ending ι of the third declension, and in σι, the ending of the dative plural.
e. Words with final υ.
Absence of elision in Homer often proves the loss of ϝ (3), as in κατὰ ἄστυ X 1. Epic admits elision in σά thy, ῥά, in the dat. sing. of the third decl., in -σι and -αι in the personal endings, and in -ναι, -σθαι of the infinitive, and (rarely) in μοί, σοί, τοί. ἄνα oh king, and ἄνα ἀνάστηθι rise up, elide only once, ἰδέ and never. Hdt. elides less often than Attic prose; but the Mss. are not a sure guide. περί sometimes appears as πέρ in Doric and Aeolic before words beginning with other vowels than ι. ὀξεἶ ὀδύναι Λ 272. Cp. cross148 D. 1.
Except ἐστί is, forms admitting movable ν ( cross134 a) do not suffer elision in prose. (But some cases of ε in the perfect occur in Demosthenes.)
In poetry a vowel capable of taking movable ν is often cut off.
αι in the personal endings and the infinitive is elided in Aristophanes; scarcely ever, if at all, in tragedy; its elision in prose is doubtful. οι is elided in tragedy in οἴμοι alas.
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Interior elision takes place in forming compound words. Here the apostrophe is not used. Thus, οὐδείς no one from οὐδὲ εἷς, καθοράω look down upon from κατὰ ὁράω, μεθί_ημι let go from μετὰ ἵ_ημι ( cross124).
a. ὁδί_, τουτί_ this are derived from the demonstrative pronouns ὅδε, τοῦτο + the deictic ending ι_ ( cross333 g).
b. Interior elision does not always occur in the formation of compounds. Thus, σκηπτοῦχος sceptre-bearing from σκηπτο οχος (i.e. σοχος). Cp. cross878.
c. On the accent in elision, see cross174.
Apocope (ἀποκοπή cutting off) occurs when a final short vowel is cut off before an initial consonant. In literature apocope is confined to poetry, but in the prose inscriptions of the dialects it is frequent. Thus, in Hom., as separate words and in compounds, ἄν, κάτ, πάρ (ἀπ, ὑπ rarely) for ἀνά, κατά, παρά (ἀπό, ὑπό). Final τ is assimilated to a following consonant (but κατθανεῖν to die, not καθθανεῖν, cp. cross83 a); so final ν by 91-95. Thus, ἀλλέξαι to pick up, ἂμ πόνον into the strife; κάββαλε threw down, κάλλιπε left behind, κακκείοντες lit. lying down, καυάξαις break in pieces, for καϝϝάξαις κατ-ϝάξαις, κὰδ δέ, καδδῦσαι entering into, κὰπ πεδίον through the plain, κὰγ γόνυ on the knee (kag not kang), κὰρ ῥόον in the stream; ὑββάλλειν interrupt, ἀππέμψει will send away. When three consonants collide, the final consonant of the apocopate word is usually lost, as κάκτανε slew, from κάκκτανε out of κατ (έ) κτανε. Apocope occurs rarely in Attic poetry. πότ for ποτί (= πρός in meaning) is frequent in Doric and Boeotian.
N.—The shorter forms may have originated from elision.
APHAERESIS (INVERSE ELISION)
Aphaeresis (ἀφᾳίρεσις taking away) is the elision of ε at the beginning of a word after a word ending in a long vowel or diphthong. This occurs only in poetry, and chiefly after μή not, ἤ or. Thus, μὴ νταῦθα, ἢ μέ, παρέξω μαυτόν, αὐτὴ ξῆλθεν. In some texts editors prefer to adopt crasis ( cross62) or synizesis ( cross60). α is rarely elided thus.