I'm new to linguistics. I've seen that there are CVC or VVC or similar structures presented in online resources (for example Wikipedia) to denote the possible combinations of sounds.

I want to find a complete list of them for a given language. I have no idea what to search.

For example, in a particular language two or three consecutive vowels might not occur at all.

What is this thing called? To formulate a language's words and sounds as Consonants and Vowels (or maybe other generalizations) and represent them as consecutive combinations of these letters.

And where can I find them?

1 Answer 1


These sorts of rules (restrictions on possible syllables, what sounds can occur next to each other, etc) are called phonotactics.

There is currently no good single resource to check this for any given language. There is the World Phonotactics Database in development, but currently it is not available online anywhere. For more information on that you can see this site question here.

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    English phonotactics is very complicated, but many languages, like Japanese or Hawai'ian, have extremely simple syllable structures. And in still other languages, like Salishan, syllabification is extremely variable, since long clusters are tolerated.
    – jlawler
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 22:55

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