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Syllable. Syllable division, syllable formation.
A syllableis a sound or a sound sequence forming a single uninterrupted unit of utterance.
In English a syllable is formed by a vowel alone or in combination with consonants, and word final sonorants [l], [m], [n] preceded by a consonant.
In some syllables formed by the sonorants the vowel [q] may be pronounced, in this case the sonorants are non-syllabic.
e.g. level [ levl] or [ levәl]
In terms of phonetics the two basic types of syllable are the open syllable (ending in a vowel) and the closed syllable (ending in a consonant).
Syllable formation in English is based on the phonological opposition vowel – consonant. Vowels are usually syllabic while consonants are not, with the exceptions of /l/, /m/, /ŋ/, which become syllabic if they occur in an unstressed final position preceded by a noise consonant, e.g. /`lıtl/ little, blossom, garden.
4 types of syllables:
- open (no) CV
- closed (odd) VC
- covered (note) CV(C)
- uncovered (oh, oak) V(C)
The number of syllables in English word can vary from one to eight.
The sounds of language can be grouped into syllables according to the rules of phonotactics. The problem of syllable division exists only in case of intervocalic consonants and their clusters like in the words city, agree, extra, etc.
2 possible variants:
- the point of syllable division is after the intervocalic consonant;
- the point of syllable division is inside the consonant.
The words such as agree, abrupt should be divided into syllables in the following way: /ə`gri:/, /ə`br∆pt/ because combinations /gr/-/br/ are permissible initial clusters. On the other hand, there’re clusters that can never be found in the word initial position and consequently should be broken by syllabic boundary: admire /əd`maıə/, abhor / əb`ho:/.
In the cases where the number of intervocalic consonants is 3, as in the word extra we have to state the possible points
Principles of syllable division:
1. Words with more than one consonant between the vowels. The simplest syllable division rule, and one which is often taught first, involves words in which there are only two consonants between the vowels (VCCV). This type of division can be taught after the students have learned the closed syllable pattern and then expanded to other syllable patterns.
VCCV words are usually divided between the consonants VC CV
Examples: rabbit rab bit
victim vic tim
Exceptions: rocket rock et
program pro gram
The same principles apply to all situations in which there are more than 2 consonants between vowels: Divide between consonants and keep blends and digraphs together. Blends often stay in second syllable.
Examples: VCC CV ethnic eth nic
VC CCCV construct con struct
VC CCCV abstract ab stract
Syllable Division - cont’d.
2. Words with only one consonant between the vowels. After students have been taught closed and open syllables, the VCV pattern can be taught. Students must be taught to try two ways of dividing words and see which one produces a word that they recognize
In VCV words the consonant can stay with the first vowel or go with the second vowel (the more common situation).
Examples: VC V camel cam el
V CV tiger ti ger
Note: These two words make an excellent picture cue and verbal mnemonic for students. When decoding a VCV word, tell the student, “Look at the picture; is your word a tiger or a camel?
3. Words with the consonant - le pattern. Teach students that these three letters always stay together; always divide before the consonant -le. One simple way to ensure this is to start at the end of the word, count back 3 letters, and divide the word at that point.
Examples: gentle gen tle
table ta ble
bridle bri dle
4. Words that divide between the vowels. This pattern is uncommon but students need to be aware that it does occur in a few words.
Examples: quiet qui et
duet du et
fluid flu id
chaos cha os
oasis o a sis
Features that make the vowel stressed:
- pitch of the voice
- vowel quality
- the quantity of the vowel
- the force of utterance
Types of stress according to its degree
On the level of the word there are 3 kinds of stress:
The primary word stress make the syllable the most prominent (apostrophe is placed before the stressed syllable)
The secondary word stress makes the syllable less prominent than the primary stress syllable but more prominent than unstressed syllables (is placed before the first sound of the secondary stressed syllable)
On the level of the sentence stress is usually used to emphasize notional parts of speech, thus to create contrast and to facilitate both articulation and perception of speech. F.ex. No, but I saw the last one he was in. It was terrible!
Contracted, negative forms of auxiliary verbs, modal verbs are usually stressed and also auxiliary verbs and modal verbs in short answers.
f.ex. They don’t know it.
Yes, I am
Rhythmic group is either one stress syllable or one stress syllable and a number of unstressed syllables grouped around their stress one. Rhythmic group is always meaningful.
f.ex. ['ri:d] – rhythmic group (1 stress syllable)
[ai 'ri:dit] – 1 stressed and a number of unstressed syllables
Rhythmis an alteration of stressed and unstressed syllables.
There are syllable-timed languages and stressed-timed languages.
In syllable-timed languages each syllable takes the same amount of time, no matter, whether it’s stressed or unstressed.
In stressed-timed languages stressed syllables occur at more or less egual intervals of time, no matter, how many unstressed syllables there are between the stressed ones.
English and Russian are stressed-timed
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