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Syllable formation

A syllable is a speech unit consisting of a sound or a sound sequence one of which is heard to be more prominent than the others. The most prominent sound being the peak or the nucleus of a syllable is called s y II a b i c. Syllabic sounds are generally vowels (monophthongs, diphthongoids and diphthongs) and sonorants. The latter become syllabic when joined to a preceding consonant.

A word consisting of only one vowel sound represents a separate syllable. eg I (al). are (a:). or (:>:); awe (:>:). In the case of a diphthong the peak of the syllable is formed by its nucleus. Among syllabic sonorants we find [n, l] and less commonly [m],. eg: apple ['repJ). trouble ['trhblJ, puzzle ('phZJ). middle ('mldlJ.

Many words in English such as parce, level, special, person and the like could be pronounced with the neutral vowel before the sonorant thus making it non-syllabic: ('pa:sIJ. ('levl). ['spefIJ, ('p3:s­n). In all these words the second prominent sound or the peak is formed by [ә] corresponding to some vowel letter in an unstressed position before the sonorant. Moreover some words in English not having any vowel-letter before the final sonorant may also be pronounced in both ways. Cf: puzzle ['phZI] - ['phz1 J; ruffle ['rhl1) - ['rhfJ].

On the other hand many words,having a vowel-letter before the final sonorant are pronounced without the neutral vowel, whereby the sonorant is syllabic, eg garden ['ga:dI;t); Jesson ['lesI;t); pupa ['pju:pl] .

The words with the sonorant (m] blossom ('blosrv], rhythm I'nOn;t) are more often pronounced with the neutral vowel ('bIDS;)m), ['nO;)m). So if a sonorant is preceded by a vowel sound it loses its syllabic character and the syllable is fonned by the vowel. There are some words in English which can be pronounced with either the syllabic or non-syllabic (I) and [n] but such cases are not numerous.

Recommendations. Be sure to make the final sonorants (I), (n], (m), with a preceding consonant syllabic. Eg; giggle, dozen.

06.06.2014; 09:40
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