The syllable

1.1 The syllable as an integral part of the Word. Types of syllable in English. 1.2 The syllable formation theories. 1.3 Basic rules of syllabification in English. 1.4 Division into syllables in writing.


The syllable is a group of sounds that are pronounced together [Wells 2000:758].

The problem of the syllabic structure of words has two aspects: 1) syllable formation 2) syllable division/separation Articulatorily, the syllable is the minimal articulatory unit of the utterance. Auditorily, the syllable is the smallest unit of perception: the listener identifies the whole of the syllable and after that the sounds which it contains. •Phonologically it is a structural unit which consists of a sequence of one or some phonemes of a language in numbers and arrangements permitted by the given language

The constitutive function : syllables constitute words: through the combination of their stress.might 'rain The identificatory function : the listener can understand the exact meaning of the utterance only when the correct syllabic boundary is perceived: e. my 'train . duration-length. pitch-tone.loudness.Functions    1.g. a 'name – an´aim. peace talks . The distinctive function : the difference in the place of a syllabic boundary differentiates the meanings of the words and phrases: e.pea stalks .g. 2.

/ l/ immediately preceded by a consonant: e. : are / ɑ : / we / w i :/ it / ɪ t / sixths /s ɪkθs / 2)by a word final sonorants / n / .Syllable structure  1) by any vowel alone or in combination with one or more consonants . .g.g. rhythm /' r ɪð ə m /. d ən / [Examples are taken from: EPD 1997]. / m /. garden /'g ɑ : .not more than 4 following it e.

/j/ are never syllabic as they are always syllable-initial.  Every English syllable has a centre or peak .Syllable structure  The English sonorants /w/.onset and coda e. light . : cat .g.

hun-dred .g.Syllable structure Placement of VOWELS Placement of CONSONANTS  open: the V is at the end . hat e. such a S is Covered at the beginning: the C is at articulated with the opening of the the beginning of the syllable : e. they .g.g. tie mouth by the end : the end of Covered at the end: the C is at the end of a S: such a S the mouth is closed: e. wri-ter closed : which end in C . on .

Fully closed (V between C) 3.1. Covered at the end syllable) VC on (one C or more complete the VCCC VCC act acts . or CVC fat CCVC place CVCC fact CCCVCC street CVCCC facts CVCCCC sixths 2. Fully open 4 structural types of syllables V ore. Covered at the beginning ( one C or a sequence of C precede a V Ccv cv 4.

Syllable classification  tre ‘meninitial medial antepenultimate penultimate ultimate pretonic posttonic dous final tonic .

The second in chronological order comes the relative sonority theory/ the prominence theory .The syllable formation theories 1.  . The first theory in chronological order is the chest pulse /breath puff  2.

The syllable formation theories          1. 6. z. 0. 8.) Semivowels ( j. s ) Oral stops (voiced) (b. 5. ) Fricatives (voiceless) ( f. 4. .. d. t. n.. k). 2. 9.. i. 3. g) Oral stops (voiceless) (p. ) Fricatives(voiced v. 7. w ) Liquids ( l. Low vowels (a: … ) High vowels (i:. r ) Nasals (m.

The syllable formation theories  3. Scherba. Consonants may be pronounced: (1) initially strong (2)finally strong (3) and geminate or double     . The muscular tensión theory was put forward by the French linguist Michaelle Grammont and supported and further developed by the Russian linguist Lev V.

Syllabification The division of a word into syllables is called syllabification [Wells 2000 :xix  phonetic syllable divisions must be such as to avoid (as far as possible) creating consonant clusters which are not found in words in isolation .Wells 2000  .

and also coincides with the morphological boundary between elements in a compound: displace /. A syllable boundary is found wherever there is a word boundary.dis 'pleis/ become /bi 'k ʌ m/ CVC-CSVC CV-CVS countless /'kaunt.les/ hardware /'ha:d.Rules of phonetic (spoken) syllable división LPD-2000     1.weə / CVSC-SVC CVC-SV .

g. deliberate /dɪˈlɪb. r.Rules of phonetic (spoken) syllable división LPD-2000 2.g. ə /.  . delicious /di liʃ ə s /. ə/ agenda / ə ‘ dʒ e n d . it goes with the leftward one e.farmer/'fa:m. cinema /'sin əm ə /. Consonants are syllabified with whichever of the two adjacent vowels is more strongly stressed e.ət.  It they are both unstressed.

while the so-called triphthongs are disyllabic. The English diphthongs are unisyllabic. because they consist of a diphthong+the neutral vowel/schwa: table science flower CV-CS CV-VSC CSV-V .Rules of phonetic (spoken) syllable división LPD-2000  3. they make one vowel phoneme.

Rules of phonetic (spoken) syllable división LPD-2000  4. The English affricates / tʃ . dʒ / cannot be split: catching / k æ tʃ i ŋ / .

 threatening / θret n̩ iŋ / / θret  bottle /'bot . r /n̩ l̩ /  suddenly /' s ʌ d n̩ l i /. /'dist ənt/. cycle /'saik.Guidelines for syllabification of syllabic consonants L . l̩ /. n. l̩ /.  Distant /'dist n̩ t/.  London /l ʌn dən /  niŋ / .

bridle people luggage militant scissors tired disorientation .

ən’teɔ.tənt. ‘sɪz.ri.ɪ.də l ‘pi:.ɪʃn ˌ ˌ ə .bridle people luggage militant scissors tired disorientation ‘braɪ.əz ‘taɪ.ɪʌ ‘mɪl.pəl ‘lʌ g.əd dɪːsˌ .

ture ['pik tʃə ].g. pic . or a suffíx or a root (morphograph). Compound words can be divided according to their meaning: hot -dog. spot-light . e.Division into syllables in writing  Syllables in writing are also called syllabographs morphological principle which demands that the part of a word which is separated should be either a prefix.

-ABLY. puz-zling. these consonants may be separated in writing: gras-ping.Division into syllables in writing A suffíx of TWO syllables such as -ABLE.  If there are two or three consonants before -ING. -FULL cannot be divided in writing.  .

Division into syllables in writing  A word of ONE phonetic syllable. piece [pi:s].g. . a word of less than FIVE letters cannot be divided into syllabographgs. e. time [taim].

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