The English Syllable

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English Phonetics and Phonology

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The English Syllable

  1. 1. ENGLISH PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY I Prof. Adriana Gonzalez
  2. 2. THE ENGLISH SYLLABLE
  3. 3. WHAT IS IT? It is a very important unit. Phonetically (in relation to the way we produce then and the way they sound), syllables are usually described as consisting of a centre which has little or no obstruction to airflow and which sounds comparatively loud, before and after this centre (at the beginning or at the end of the syllable). There will be greater obstruction to airflow and/or less loud sound.
  4. 4. ELEMENTS OF A SYLLABLE  Some syllables would be composed by a single vowel in isolation which is called: MINIMUM SYLLABLE. A vowel sound stands as the CENTRE of the syllable and it is the only obligatory element: are – or – err  Some syllables have an ONSET, which is made up of all the consonants before the nucleus. It is an optional element: bar – key – more
  5. 5. ELEMENTS OF A SYLLABLE  Some syllables may have no onset but a CODA, which is everything after the nucleus. It is an optional element: am – ought – ease  Some syllables have ONSET and CODA: run – sit – fill
  6. 6. STRUCTURE OF THE ENGLISH SYLLABLE The English Syllable consists of a vowel as the centre of the syllabe and a possible combination of three consonant sounds before the vowel and a possible combination of four consonant sounds after the vowel.
  7. 7. STRUCTURE OF THE ENGLISH SYLLABLE CCC V CCCC C3 vowel C4 SPRAY /sprei/ RUN /rn/ TEXTS /teksts/
  8. 8. SYLLABIC CONSONANT It occurs in syllables in which no vowels can be found. In this case, a consonant, either /l/, /r/ or a nasal: /n/ /m/ //, stand as the centre of the syllable instead of a vowel. It’s usual to indicate that a consonant is syllabic by means of a small vertical mark 

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