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Published by callura

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Published by: callura on Jan 03, 2011
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05/05/2014

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Chapter
7:
 
 Beyond the segment: Syllable structure in English
7.3 The importance of segmental sonority for the syllablestructure
We have already shown that
 prominence
or 
 sonority
is a feature that creates a
hierarchy
among speech sounds, the vowels occupying the highest position on the scale.The nucleus or the vowel of the syllable is then the most sonorous element within thesyllable, or the
 sonority peak 
of the syllable, all the other consonantal elements in either the onset or the coda being situated lower in the hierarchy. If we were to represent thevariation in sonority of the sounds in an utterance we will get something of an undulating,sinuous representation with ups and downs, generated by the succession of vowel nucleiand consonantal onsets and codas. On the
 scale of sonority
mentioned above, the highest position will be held by
vowels
, then come the
 glides
and
liquids
followed by the
nasals
 
as the least sonorous of the
 sonorants
. Among the
obstruents
, the
 fricatives
and the
affricates
 
are a degree higher than the
 plosives
, which are at the bottom of the scale.Within each class of obstruents, voiced sounds are obviously more sonorous than their voiceless counterparts, while an open vowel will be more sonorous than a mid one andthe latter will have a higher degree of sonority than a close one. Here is how the abovementioned scale looks (the bigger the figure on the left, the higher the degree of sonority):6. VowelsSONORANTS 5. Glides(6-3) 4. Liquids3. NasalsOBSTRUENTS 2 Fricatives/Affricates

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