How many syllables are in the word 'interesting'?

Jun 9, 2013

It’s very interesting to consider some people add an extra syllable to certain words when speaking.

On this week’s edition of “That’s What They Say,” host Rina Miller and University of Michigan Professor Anne Curzan discuss how this difference in pronunciation is fairly new - linguistically speaking.

The word "interesting" is pronounced today with either three or four syllables. Anne Curzan explains the four syllable pronunciation, which often annoys the three-syllable camp, is actually the more traditional pronunciation.

“If you look in the online Oxford English Dictionary…it only has a four syllable pronunciation. If you look in modern standard dictionaries from the last ten years, they will show multiple pronunciations, three and four syllables," says Curzan.

The process of losing a syllable is not rare  in the English language.

“The process of going from four to three, that losing of a syllable, is called syncope in linguistics, where an unstressed syllable just gets lost," she says.

Other words which have undergone syncope include: chocolate, different, and laboratory. 

--Austin Davis, Michigan Radio Newsroom