Steve K. stevek at SHORE.NET
Tue Aug 8 18:52:41 UTC 2000

Just an elaboration, when it comes to hypenating words, there are actually
three methods in place. (none of this has to do with pronunciations, but I
thought it might be edifying, or at least interesting.)

Certain affixes are strictly morphological, like -ing; the syllable dot
will always precede it. (jok*ing, kill*ing)

Other affixes are broken phonologically.

Still other affixes are broken either phonologcally or morphologically,
depending on whether the root they attach to is itself the semantically
related word (or would be if you added an e to it). [Thus guid*ance, but
fi*nance, broken that way in the Big 4.] (I figured this 'rule' out by
analyzing all the words in AHD that ended in -ance, looking for
patterns. It was confusing at first, until I realized that in some
cases, semantics does come into play: guidance can be seen as
guide + ance, whereas that's not the case with finance. This was
corroborated by other words.) What's more, the decision of whether to
break consonant clusters (like rt or nd) depends on the affix they're
attached to. Again, these guidelines of how to break words are based
largely on the conventions set forth by typographers.

Random House, Merriam-Webster, and American Heritage all show a similar
pattern; Webster's New World hyphenation leans more toward the
morphological (they're more inclined to keep clusters intact where the
other 3 would split them).

It's a fascinating thing, really.

--- Steve K.

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