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Encyclopedia > Syllable
Suprasegmentals
Syllable
Mora
Tone
Tone contour
Pitch accent
Register
Downstep
Upstep
Downdrift
Tone terracing
Floating tone
Tone sandhi
Tone letter
Stress
Secondary stress
Vowel reduction
Length
Chroneme
Gemination
Vowel length
Extra-short
Prosody
Intonation (pitch)
Pitch contour
Pitch reset
Stress
Rhythm
Metrical foot
Loudness
Prosodic unit
Timing (rhythm)
Vowel reduction

A syllable (Greek: συλλαβή) is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants). Syllable is a free and open source operating system for Intel x86 Pentium and compatible processors. ... In linguistics, prosody refers to intonation and vocal stress in speech. ... Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit of sound used in phonology that determines syllable weight (which in turn determines stress or timing) in some languages. ... Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ... The tone contours of Standard Mandarin Tone contours are numbers that represent the way pitch varies over a syllable. ... Pitch accent is a kind of accent system employed in many languages around the world. ... In linguistics, a register language is a language which combines tone and vowel phonation into a single phonological system. ... Downstep is a phonemic or phonetic downward shift of tone between the syllables or words of a tonal language. ... In phonetics, upstep is a phonemic or phonetic upward shift of tone between the syllables or words of a tonal language. ... Downdrift is a linguistic phenomenon defined as the lowering of high tones that are separated by low tones. ... Tone terracing is a type of phonetic downdrift, where certain tones shift downward in pitch after other tones. ... A floating tone is a morpheme that contains no consonants, no vowels, but only tone. ... Tone sandhi (Sandhi is from Sanskrit meaning, putting together) refers to the pitch change in tones when different tones come together. ... In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word. ... The secondary stress is the degree of stress weaker than a primary accent placed on a syllable in the pronunciation of a word. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... In phonetics, length or quantity is a feature of sounds that are distinctively longer than other sounds. ... In spoken language, a chroneme is a basic, theoretical unit of sound that can distinguish words by duration only of a vowel or consonant. ... Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-20, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. ... In linguistics, prosody refers to intonation, rhythm, and vocal stress in speech. ... Intonation, in linguistics, is the variation of pitch when speaking. ... In linguistics, speech synthesis, and music, the pitch contour of a sound is a function or curve that tracks the perceived pitch of the sound over time. ... In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word. ... For other uses, see Rhythm (disambiguation). ... In verse, many meters use a foot as the basic unit in their description of the underlying rhythm of a poem. ... The horizontal axis shows frequency in Hz Loudness is the quality of a sound that is the primary psychological correlate of physical intensity. ... In linguistics, the timing in a language comprises the rhythmic qualities of speech, in particular how syllables are distributed across time. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Bold text This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In phonetics and phonology, the nucleus is the central part of the syllable, mostly commonly a vowel. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture of the vocal tract sufficient to cause audible turbulence. ...


Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic meter, its stress patterns, etc. Phonology (Greek phonÄ“ = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... For other uses, see Word (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, prosody refers to intonation, rhythm, and vocal stress in speech. ... This article is about the art form. ... In linguistics, stress is the emphasis given to some syllables (often no more than one in each word, but in many languages, long words have a secondary stress a few syllables away from the primary stress, as in the words cóunterfòil or còunterintélligence. ...


Syllablic writing began several hundred years before the first letters. The earliest recorded syllables are on tablets written around 2800 BCE in the Sumerian city of Ur. This shift from pictograms to syllables has been called 'the most important advance in the history of writing'.[1] The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to... Sumeria may refer to: A back-formation from the adjective Sumerian, often used to mean the ancient civilisation more properly known as Sumer Sumeria, a disco artist best known for the 1978 hit Golden Tears 1970 Sumeria, an asteroid discovered in 1954 by Miguel Itzigsohn Donna Sumeria, a song on... For other uses, see Ur (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Write redirects here. ...


A word that consists of a single syllable (like English cat) is called a monosyllable (such a word is monosyllabic), while a word consisting of two syllables (like monkey) is called a disyllable (such a word is disyllabic). A word consisting of three syllables (such as indigent) is called a trisyllable (the adjective form is trisyllabic). A word consisting of more than three syllables (such as intelligence) is called a polysyllable (and could be described as polysyllabic), although this term is often used to describe words of two syllables or more. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

Contents

Syllable structure

The general structure of a syllable consists of the following segments:

  • Onset (obligatory in some languages, optional or even restricted in others)
  • Rime
    • Nucleus (obligatory in all languages)
    • Coda (optional in some languages, highly restricted or prohibited in others)
tree representation of a CVC syllable
tree representation of a CVC syllable

In some theories of phonology, these syllable structures are displayed as tree diagrams (similar to the trees found in some types of syntax). Not all phonologists agree that syllables have internal structure; in fact, some phonologists doubt the existence of the syllable as a theoretical entity. See [1] for discussion of this point. In phonetics and phonology, a syllable onset is the part of a syllable that precedes the syllable nucleus. ... In the study of phonology in linguistics, the rime or rhyme of a syllable consists of a nucleus and an optional coda. ... In phonetics and phonology, the nucleus is the central part of the syllable, mostly commonly a vowel. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... Image File history File links Syllable_structure. ... Image File history File links Syllable_structure. ... The term tree diagram is used in different ways in different disciplines. ...


The syllable nucleus is typically a sonorant, usually making a vowel sound, in the form of a monophthong, diphthong, or triphthong, but sometimes sonorant consonants like [l] or [r]. The syllable onset is the sound or sounds occurring before the nucleus, and the syllable coda (literally 'tail') is the sound or sounds that follow the nucleus. The term rhyme covers the nucleus plus coda. In the one-syllable English word cat, the nucleus is a, the onset c, the coda t, and the rhyme at. This syllable can be abstracted as a consonant-vowel-consonant syllable, abbreviated CVC. In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant is a speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract. ... A monophthong (in Greek μονόφθογγος = single note) is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation; compare diphthong. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (also gliding vowel) (Greek δίφθογγος, diphthongos, literally with two sounds, or with two tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. ... In phonetics, a triphthong (Greek τρίφθογγος, triphthongos, literally with three sounds, or with three tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination usually involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another that passes over a third one. ... In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture of the vocal tract sufficient to cause audible turbulence. ...


Generally, every syllable requires a nucleus. Onsets are extremely common, and some languages require all syllables to have an onset. (That is, a CVC syllable like cat is possible, but a VC syllable such as at is not.) A coda-less syllable of the form V, CV, CCV, etc. is called an open syllable, while a syllable that has a coda (VC, CVC, CVCC, etc.) is called a closed syllable (or checked syllable). All languages allow open syllables, but some, such as Hawaiian, do not have closed syllables. The Hawaiian language is an Austronesian language that takes its name from Hawaiʻi, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. ...


A heavy syllable is one with a branching rhyme or a branching nucleus — this is a metaphor, based on the nucleus or coda having lines that branch in a tree diagram. In some languages, heavy syllables include both VV (branching nucleus) and VC (branching rhyme) syllables, contrasted with V, which is a light syllable. In other languages, only VV syllables (ones with a long vowel or diphthong) are heavy, while both VC and V syllables are light. The difference between heavy and light frequently determines which syllables receive stress—this is the case in Latin and Arabic, for example. In moraic theory, heavy syllables are said to have two moras, while light syllables are said to have one. Japanese is generally described this way. In linguistics, syllable weight is the concept that syllables pattern together according to the number and/or duration of segments in the rime. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (also gliding vowel) (Greek δίφθογγος, diphthongos, literally with two sounds, or with two tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. ... In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word. ... For other uses, see Latins and Latin (disambiguation). ... Arabic redirects here. ... Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit of sound used in phonology that determines syllable weight (which in turn determines stress or timing) in some languages. ...


In other languages, including English, a consonant may be analyzed as acting simultaneously as the coda of one syllable and the onset of the following syllable, a phenomenon known as ambisyllabicity. Examples occurring in Received Pronunciation include words such as arrow [ˈærəʊ], error [ˈerə], mirror [ˈmɪrə], borrow [ˈbɒrəʊ], burrow [ˈbʌrəʊ], which can't be divided into separately pronounceable syllables: neither [æ] nor [ær] is a possible independent syllable, and likewise with the other short vowels [e ɪ ɒ ʌ]. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...


Syllables and suprasegmentals

The domain of suprasegmental features is the syllable and not a specific sound, that is to say, they affect all the segments of a syllable: In linguistics, prosody refers to intonation and vocal stress in speech. ...

Sometimes syllable length is also counted as a suprasegmental feature; for example, in most Germanic languages, long vowels may only exist with short consonants and vice versa. However, syllables can be analyzed as compositions of long and short phonemes, as in Finnish and Japanese, where consonant gemination and vowel length are independent. In linguistics, stress is the emphasis given to some syllables (often no more than one in each word, but in many languages, long words have a secondary stress a few syllables away from the primary stress, as in the words cóunterfòil or còunterintélligence. ... Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ... In linguistics, the timing in a language comprises the rhythmic qualities of speech, in particular how syllables are distributed across time. ...


Syllables and phonotactic constraints

Phonotactic rules determine which sounds are allowed or disallowed in each part of the syllable. English allows very complicated syllables; syllables may begin with up to three consonants (as in string or splash), and occasionally end with as many as four (as in prompts). Many other languages are much more restricted; Japanese, for example, only allows /n/ and a chroneme in a coda, and has no consonant clusters at all, as the onset is composed of at most one consonant. Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... In spoken language, a chroneme is a basic, theoretical unit of sound that can distinguish words by duration only of a vowel or consonant. ...


There are languages that forbid empty onsets, such as Hebrew, Arabic, Persian (the names transliterated as "Israel", "Abraham", "Omar", "Ali" and "Abdullah", among many others, actually begin with semiconsonantic glides or with glottal or pharyngeal consonants). Hebrew redirects here. ... Arabic redirects here. ... Farsi redirects here. ...


Phonotactics is the micro-level study of the structure of syllables that aims to explore how well-formed the syllables of a language are. A macro-level study of the syllables that aims to examine the constraints on the combinatory possibilities of syllables, their positions of occurrence and possible order in the word is called Syllabotactics.


Syllabification

Main article: Syllabification

Syllabification is the separation of a word into syllables, whether spoken or written. In most languages, the actually spoken syllables are the basis of syllabification in writing too. However, due to the very weak correspondence between sounds and letters in the spelling of modern English, for example, written syllabification in English has to be based mostly on etymological i.e. morphological instead of phonetic principles. English "written" syllables therefore do not correspond to the actually spoken syllables of the living language. Syllabification can be described as the separation of a word at the end of a line to improve the lines appearance in text. ...


(Syllabification may also mean the process of a consonant becoming a syllable nucleus.)


Ambisyllabicity

Many English speakers have a strong feeling that a single consonant after a stressed short vowel belongs with the previous syllable, /'CVC.V/, as in competitive /kəm.ˈpɛt.ɨ.tɪv/ and better /ˈbɛt.ər/. This is at odds with the universal tendency for /CV.CV/ syllabification, and so the concept of ambisyllabicity was developed, with the idea that these consonants are shared between the preceding and following syllables. However, Wells (2002)[2] argues that this is not a useful analysis, and that English syllabification is simply /'CVC.V/.


Syllables and stress

Syllable structure often interacts with stress. In Latin, for example, stress is regularly determined by syllable weight, a syllable counting as heavy if it has at least one of the following: For other uses, see Latins and Latin (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, syllable weight is the concept that syllables pattern together according to the number and/or duration of segments in the rime. ...

  • a long vowel in its nucleus
  • a diphthong in its nucleus
  • one or more coda(e)

In each case the syllable is considered to have two moras. Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit of sound used in phonology that determines syllable weight (which in turn determines stress or timing) in some languages. ...


Syllables and vowel tenseness

In most Germanic languages, lax vowels can only occur in closed syllables. Therefore, these vowels are also called checked vowels, as opposed to the tense vowels that are called free vowels because they can occur in open syllables. Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family, spoken by the Germanic peoples who settled in northern Europe along the borders of the Roman Empire. ... Tenseness is a term used in phonology to describe a particular vowel quality that is phonemically contrastive in many languages, including English. ...


Syllable-less languages

The notion of syllable is challenged by languages that allow long strings of consonants without any intervening vowel or sonorant. Languages of the Northwest coast of North America, including Salishan and Wakashan languages, are famous for this. For instance, these Nuxálk (Bella Coola) words contain only obstruents: The Salishan (also Salish) languages are a group of languages of western Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the United States. ... Wakashan is a family of languages spoken around Vancouver Island. ... Nuxálk (also Bella Coola) is a Salishan language spoken in the Canadian town Bella Coola, British Columbia by approximately 20-30 elders. ... In phonetics, articulation may be divided into two large classes, obstruents and sonorants. ...

[ɬχʷtɬʦxʷ] 'you spat on me'
[ʦ’ktskʷʦʼ] 'he arrived'
[xɬpʼχʷɬtɬpɬɬs] 'he had in his possession a bunchberry plant' (Bagemihl 1991:589, 593, 627)
[sxs] 'seal blubber'

In Bagemihl's survey of previous analyses, he finds that the word [ʦ’ktskʷʦ’] would have been parsed into 0, 2, 3, 5, or 6 syllables depending which analysis is used. One analysis would consider all vowel and consonants segments as syllable nuclei, another would consider only a small subset as nuclei candidates, and another would simply deny the existence of syllables completely.


This type of phenomenon has also been reported in Berber languages (such as Imdlawn Tashlhiyt Berber) and Mon-Khmer languages (such as Semai, Temiar, Kammu). Even in English there are a few utterances that have no vowels; for example, shh (meaning "be quiet") and psst (a sound used to attract attention). The Berber languages (or Tamazight) are a group of closely related languages mainly spoken in Morocco and Algeria. ... The Mon-Khmer languages are the autochthonous languages of Indo-China. ... The Semai are a semisedentary people living in the center of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia. ... The Khmu language is the language of the Khmu people of the northern Laos region. ...


Imdlawn Tashlhiyt Berber:

[tftktst tfktstt] 'you sprained it and then gave it'
[rkkm] 'rot' (imperf.) (Dell & Elmedlaoui 1985, 1988)

Semai:

[kckmrʔɛːc] 'short, fat arms' (Sloan 1988)

See also

Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit of sound used in phonology that determines syllable weight (which in turn determines stress or timing) in some languages. ... According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the longest English word of one syllable is the ten-letter scraunched, appearing in a 1620 translation of Cervantes Don Quixote. ... Phonology (Greek phonē = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... Pitch accent is a kind of accent system employed in many languages around the world. ... In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... A syllabic consonant is a consonant which either forms a syllable of its own, or is the nucleus of a syllable. ... Syllabification can be described as the separation of a word at the end of a line to improve the lines appearance in text. ... In linguistics, the timing in a language comprises the rhythmic qualities of speech, in particular how syllables are distributed across time. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...

External links

References and recommended reading

  • Bagemihl, Bruce (1991). "Syllable structure in Bella Coola". Linguistic Inquiry 22: 589–646. 
  • Dell, F.; Elmedlaoui, M. (1985). "Syllabic consonants and syllabification in Imdlawn Tashlhiyt Berber". Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 7: 105–130.  (Cited in Bagemihl 1991).
  • Dell, F.; Elmedlaoui, M. (1988). "Syllabic consonants in Berber: Some new evidence". Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 10: 1–17.  (Cited in Bagemihl 1991).
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2001). A course in phonetics, 4th edition, Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers. ISBN 0-15-507319-2. 
  • Sloan, K. (1988). Bare-consonant reduplication: Implications for a prosodic theory of reduplication. In H. Borer (Ed.), Proceedings of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics 7. Stanford, CA: Stanford Linguistics Association. (Cited in Bagemihl 1991).
  1. ^ Geoffrey Blainey, A Short History of the World, p.87, citing J.T. Hooker et al., Reading the Past: Ancient Writing from Cuneiform to the Alphabet, British Museum, 1993, Ch. 2
Bruce Bagemihl, PhD., is the author of the controversial book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, which first argues that homosexual and bisexual behaviors are rife through the natural world, and then proposes an overarching theory of natural sexuality in which reproduction is only one of its principal biological... Peter Nielsen Ladefoged (September 17, 1925 – January 24, 2006) was a British-American linguist phonetician who traveled the world to document the distinct sounds of endangered languages and pioneered ways to collect and study data. ... Nickname: Motto: Where the West Begins Location of Fort Worth in Tarrant County, Texas Coordinates: , Country State Counties Tarrant, Denton Government  - Mayor Michael J. Moncrief Area  - City 298. ... Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC (born 11 March 1930), is one of Australias most significant historians. ... A Short History of The World isnt a general history book by Luke Berry and Christopher Duffield, which explains some areas of history in ordinary language. ... London museum | name = British Museum | image = British Museum from NE 2. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Syllable - encyclopedia article - Citizendium (2505 words)
The syllable is a unit of organisation in phonology, the study of the patterns of sounds and signs in language.
Typically, a syllable consists of a vowel and at least one consonant, though various combinations are possible, including single vowels.
The existence of the syllable as an abstract phonological unit that limits the possible sequences of segments is not uncontroversial, and its use in mainstream linguistics literature has been inconsistent.
Syllable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1018 words)
A word that consists of a single syllable (like English cat) is called a monosyllable (such a word is monosyllabic), while a word consisting of two syllables (like monkey) is called a disyllable (such a word is disyllabic).
The syllable nucleus is typically a sonorant, usually a vowel sound, in the form of a monophthong, diphthong, or triphthong, but sometimes sonorant consonants like [l] or [r].
A heavy syllable is one with a branching rime or a branching nucleus — this is a metaphor, based on the nucleus or coda having lines that branch in a tree diagram.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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