Is there a standard representation that combines onset, nucleus, coda with mora? That would help me visualize the prosodic hierarchy better, because I could put something beneath the syllable level.

My intuition says that the relation between onset, nucleus, coda and morae is language-independent, but I'm not confident.

Can one of you help me shed light on this?


1 Answer 1


According to Draga Zec in The Cambridge Handbook of Phonology, the older model of onset, rime, nucleus, coda—

syllable(onset, rime(nucleus, coda))

—was superseded by the mora model—

a: syllable(C, head_mora(V)); b: syllable(C, head_mora(V), mora(C/V)), c: syllable(C, head_mora(V), C)

—which can account for everything the notion of 'rime' could, and more. It's mostly language-independent, but there's a distinction in that some languages have weightless C codas (as in (c) above), while in others C codas carry weight (as in (b)). For example, in Cairene Arabic both CVC and CVV attract stress, so CVC falls under structure (b), while in Khal Mongolian only CVV attracts stress, so that CVC are monomoraic as in (c).

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