Syllabification is the separation of each word into sounds and the word separated into parts is
conventionally called as Syllables.
What is a Syllable?
A syllable is a unit of pronunciation, which is usually larger than a single sound but smaller than
a word. Native speakers of the language internalise this notion of stress as they are exposed to the
language since their early childhood. For non-native speakers, however, it could be a difficult
concept to comprehend.
Each word in English consists of at least one syllable. Humans use syllables to divide a stream of
speech and give it a rhythm similar to what we hear in music.
How do we identify the number of syllables in a word?
The number of vowel sounds in a word equals the number of syllables in the word (a diphthong is
considered a single vowel sound).
The number of beats within a word corresponds with the number of syllables in that word.
Here are some words divided into their component syllables:
Mister = mis – ter
Invention = in – ven – tion
Spectacular = spec – ta – cu – lar
Types of syllable
Mono syllable - A word consisting of only one syllable
Di Syllable - A word having two syllables
Tri syllable - A word having tthree syllables
Poly syllable – A word having more than three syllables
Rules of Syllabification
Every syllable has one vowel sound
eg., pen, pa.per
The number of vowel sounds in a word equals the number of syllables.
eg., home- monosyllables ,Sub.ject- disyllable , pub.lish.ing - tri syllables
A one syllable word is never divided.
eg., Stop, Feet, Bell
Consonant blends and digraphs are never separated.
eg., rest.ing, bush.el, reach.ing
When a word has a Ck or an x in it, the word is usually divided after the ck or x
eg., nick.el, tax.i
A compound word is divided between the two words that make the compound word
eg., in.side, foot.ball, tooth.brush
When two or more consonants come between two vowels in a word, it is usually divided between
the first two consonants.
eg., Sis.ter, but.ter, hun.gry
When a single consonant comes between two vowels in a word, it is usually divided after the
consonant if the vowel is short.
eg., lev.er, cab.in, hab.it
When a single consonant comes between two vowels in a word, it is usually divided before the
consonant if the vowel is long.
When two vowels come together in a word and are sounded separately, divide the word between
the two vowels.
eg., ra.di.o, di.et, i.de.a
When a vowel is sounded alone in a word, it forms a syllable itself
eg., grad.u.ate, a.pron, u.nit
A word that has a prefix is divided between the root word and the prefix.
eg., dis.count, mis.fit, un.tie
When be,de,ex and re are at the begining of a word, they make a syllable of their own.
eg., be.came, de.fend, ex.hale, re.main
A word that bas a suffix is divided between the root word and the suffix.
eg., kind.ness, thank.ful, stuff.ing
When a word ends in le, preceded by a consonant, the word is divided before that consonanat.
eg., pur.ple, fum.ble, mid.dle
When -ed comes at the end of a word, it forms a syllable pnly when preceded by d or t.
eg., start.ed, fund.ed
When a word or syllable ends in al ore el, these letters usually form the last syllable.
eg., lev.el, us.u.al
when ture and tion are at the end of a word, they make their own syllable
eg., lo.tion, pos.ture
A word should be divided between syllables at the end of a line. the hyphen(-) stays with the syllable
at the end of the line.
eg., By the time they decided to go to the Supermar-ket, it was already dark.
What is syllabic stress?
In some languages, some syllables are clearly stronger than other syllables; these can be described
as stressed. Unlike sentence stress, wherein the word singled out for stress often depends upon the
context in which the speaker speaks at that moment; in syllabic stress, the syllable, in any word,
that is singled out for stress is nearly always the same, irrespective of the context.
The word achieve, for example is always stressed on achieve and never on a.
We must consider the fact, however, that if the word is not prominent in a sentence, none of its
syllables get stressed in that particular sentence.