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Should it be val-ue or va-lue?

Is there a rule for this kind of thing?

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closed as off topic by FumbleFingers, tenfour, Matt E. Эллен, Mitch, Daniel Mar 8 '12 at 20:09

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If this is a meaningful question at all, it should be addressed at linguistics.se – FumbleFingers Feb 19 '12 at 0:57
@FumbleFingers Disagree. I just went through a superpainful process because of my publisher using a Docbook-to-PDF converter written by Japanese who had never heard of the standard Knuth–Liang hyphenation algorithm for English. I had to write a program to iteratively analyse against ᴋʟ and stick things in their exception list. They would split one-syllable words, all kinds of nonsense. It was horrible. I do think this belongs in ᴇ&ʟᴜ. It is interesting enough the Knuth addressed it. Also, Bringhurst talks about this at length. It varies from one language to the next, even ᴜᴋ v. ᴜs. – tchrist Feb 19 '12 at 1:08
@tchrist: If we're talking pronunciation here then imho this is way beyond the scope of ELU. I'm not a linguist by profession, but I studied it to degree level, and if I can't see the distinction I don't know why ELU should be dealing with it - it's lingiustics.se or nothing. If we're talking about typesetting (which I think is your context), it's just out-and-out off-topic. – FumbleFingers Feb 19 '12 at 1:14
@FumbleFingers Ok you’re right: I guess we don’t know whether he’s asking for pronunciation or for typesetting. I don’t even know what “pronunciation” would mean. But if he can’t ask what proper English-language hyphenation usage is on ᴇ&ʟᴜ, where then can he ask it? This is not a linguistics question. In this case, it’s val–ue because the a is short, and arguably also because you would lose the bound morpheme if you split it. ᴜᴋ pro–cess ᴜs proc-ess. – tchrist Feb 19 '12 at 1:17
I believe pronunciation to the OP was intended to be his first rule for finding syllables, and thus, his way of determining hyphenation, which exists as part of the practices of writing english text in publications, and should be on topic for English.SE. – Warren P Feb 19 '12 at 4:18
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The relevant rule here is: if there is a reasonable alternative, do not hyphenate a word after a short vowel. So val-ue.

The hyphenation rules for English are very complicated, and some of the ones Merriam-Webster uses for American English (e.g., fair-ies but prai-ries) depend on pronunciations which are 100 years out of date. The only reasonable thing to do is to use a dictionary.

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The direct answer to your question is that it is val–ue.

The reasons for how to hyphenate English are really quite complex, and indeed can sometimes vary depending on whether you’re cispondian or transpondian.

And yes, there are rules for these things, more complicated than I can spell out here. The best thing you can do is to consult a hyphenation dictionary, or to run a program than implements Knuth–Liang.

I can probably dig up references for you in a moment.

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thank you, tchrist – lovespring Feb 22 '12 at 14:19

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