Questions tagged [syllables]

A unit of organisation for a sequence of speech sounds. Consists of a nucleus with optional preceding onset and optional following coda.

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13
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4answers
1k views

Why do tone and simple syllable structure appear to be correlated?

I happen to have been struggling to learn a bit of Mandarin Chinese lately, and it's been my first attempt to really deal with tones to any significant extent. I find distinguishing tones quite ...
12
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1answer
371 views

Why do onsets not count for syllable weight in phonological processes?

Whether a syllable has a heavy or light rime is often important in whether it will participate in phonological processes, and whether it will receive stress. For example, in Latin, stress is on the ...
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1answer
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How to split IPA spelling into syllables

First, please forgive my ignorance, I'm completely new to linguistics. Given the IPA spelling for word, is it possible to programmatically split it into its sounds? So, for example, given the word "...
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2answers
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Why do languages have different syllable complexity from each other?

Assuming human vocal tracts are similar and equally capable of articulating different syllable structures, why is it that languages develop different syllable complexity? Why is it that it is not ...
10
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2answers
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Are there any languages that only allow CV syllables?

In my research online, I have found a truism that CV is the most basic syllable type cross-linguistically, and is in fact present in all languages. Other syllable types are not present in all ...
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2answers
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How languages compare with the number of different syllables from all words?

Note: I am not a linguist, please provide any corrections for terminology. I would like to find some approximate data (if it exists) comparing several languages with the number of different syllables ...
8
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4answers
6k views

Correct syllabification in (American) English

I need to figure out what the proper syllabification of words in American English is and why. PLEASE NOTE: I am interested in syllabification from a phonetic point of view, not in terms of hyphenation/...
8
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1answer
2k views

Does the syllable/word ratio in a language determine the number of vowel phonemes it has?

I've recently stumbled on this site dedicated to teaching English as a second language to Portuguese speakers. Right at the beginning, while making a comparison among English and Portuguese ...
7
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3answers
667 views

Why isn't intervocalic /ŋ/ analyzed as an onset in English?

I think that sɪ.ŋɪŋ does not seem too unreasonable as a syllabification of the word singing, so I'm a bit puzzled why that option for the syllabification of intervocalic /ŋ/ seems to be dismissed in ...
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3answers
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Are there any purely monosyllabic languages in use today?

All languages in the world that I know of use words with more than one syllable. Are there any where all words have strictly one syllable? That would mean that there is just one vocal cluster per word,...
7
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1answer
156 views

Do any languages have different syllable weight criteria for primary and secondary stress?

Some languages count the same syllable as "light" or "heavy" depending on the phonological process in question. For example, in Lhasa Tibetan, a CVC syllable ending in a sonorant is heavy for tone ...
7
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1answer
449 views

Dictionary of atypical syllabication

I am a literacy researcher looking to create an add on package in R that offers quantitative methods for discourse analysis. I am creating a function for taking a chunk of text and measuring the ...
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5answers
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Can we conclude that morpheme is ALWAYS greater than syllable?

A morpheme is the most smallest meaningful unit of language. A syllable is the smallest piece of pronunciation that has a vowel in it. Definitions are taken from this link. I don't know why, but can ...
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7answers
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How many different distinctive sounds can an average human make? [closed]

If we wanted to create an all new alphabet composed of as much letters as possible, with each letter corresponding to one distinctive sound. What's the maximum amount of letters we could have? Oh and ...
6
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1answer
349 views

Can a syllable be open before a lenghtened consonant?

This thread (related to this problem) can be split into two questions, the first one being restricted to Ancient Greek, the second one being more general. (1) Let's be, by example, two syllables, the ...
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2answers
422 views

Are there languages that disallow initial vowels and lack glottal stop?

Which, if any, of the world's languages have both the following features? Syllable-initial vowels are disallowed; all syllables must begin with a consonant. There is no glottal stop phoneme.
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4answers
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Can languages restrict their number of distinct syllables when written by syllabaries?

Disclaimer: I am not a linguist, please provide any corrections for terminology. From How languages compare with the number of different syllables from all words?, Yoon Mi Oh's thesis counted the ...
5
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5answers
2k views

The difference between a regular consonant and a syllabic consonant

Trying to understand the difference between regular consonants and Syllabic Consonants. Two examples are from Danish. [ð̩] skinnede [l̩] solen To start (for some context), the way I would naturally ...
5
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2answers
526 views

Can a syllabic consonant exist between two vowels?

I think it would break the sonority principle, but. Who knows... I was thinking on a similar thing to semivowels, it seems they are only possible between vowels, if there is one between two consonants,...
5
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1answer
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Is syllable a phonetic or a phonological concept?

Is syllable a phonetic or a phonological concept? Consider 'syllable counting' as a task: would that be regarded as a phonetic task or phonological tasks? Would it depend on whether words are ...
5
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1answer
254 views

Cross-linguistically, how do syllabic consonants interact with morae?

I've read a bit about the moraic system found in Japanese, but as there isn't much complexity in the case of its syllabic consonants, I am left with a few questions. 1) Are there any natural ...
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3answers
537 views

What exactly is the definition of a syllable?

I do not consider myself a linguist. I just teach English to Japanese audience. So please excuse my ignorance if this is too basic a question. What exactly is the definition of a syllable? What I ...
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7answers
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Why aren't the number of syllables in constructed languages like Esperanto minimized?

It would seem advantageous for any language to have minimal numbers of syllables in its words, especially for its most common words, where there would be no loss (and instead, probable gain) in ...
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3answers
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liquids and nasals as syllable nuclei!

I have just started studying Phonology and I find a problem while dealing with Syllables. I read that nuclei are not only vowels, but they could be also liquids (l - r) or nasals (n - m - ng). But ...
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2answers
685 views

Is there a "maximal coda principle"?

The "maximal onset principle" says that, in many (most) languages, consonants will attach to a syllable onset rather than a coda when given the choice. For example, "walking" /wakɪŋ/ in English is ...
4
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2answers
727 views

Are the unreleased stops in cantonese discernable by listening?

Background-Info: In contrast to mandarin Chinese, which can only have a few consonants at the and of a syllable, e.g. man, mang, Cantonese syllables can contain p,t,k at their end. Nevertheless, ...
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1answer
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Is there a computational method to syllabify English words?

There are straightforward ways to convert English words to phonemes via a dictionary that contains such information. However, is there a way to automatically convert English text into syllables? I.e., ...
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1answer
506 views

Components that comprise a syllable

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. ...
4
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1answer
176 views

Is there a phonotactics hierarchy?

For example, Japanese is (C)V(N) [plus that geminated stops across syllable boundaries thing], while Mandarin is (C)(G)(V)(G)(/n/ or /ŋ/) and Polynesian languages are just (C)V. Is there a gradation ...
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1answer
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What is the syllable structure of a word with an affricate in the onset?

If a word has an affricate in the onset, let's say /ts/, along with another consonant, let's say /k/, to make a word like /tski/, is the phonotactic syllable structure of this word CCV or is it CCCV?
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0answers
942 views

Does pre-fortis clipping only operate within a syllable? If not, what is its actual scope?

English is known to have a phenomenon of "pre-fortis clipping": in certain contexts, vowel and sonorant phonemes before a fortis/voiceless consonant are realized with shorter duration than the same ...
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0answers
584 views

Mandarin Chinese syllable and tone frequency (not character frequency)

There's plenty of good resources on Chinese character frequency available. But I'm wondering about syllable frequency independent of characters, and also tone frequency both separate and in ...
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3answers
275 views

Are the nasal portions of prenasalized consonants syllabic?

Prenasalized consonants occur in a number of natural languages. https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Prenasalized_consonant When I hear someone pronounce a word that begins with a prenasalized consonant, ...
3
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2answers
648 views

Is Swahili a Mora-counting language like Japanese?

I have this simple question on Kiswahili, a Bantu language. As you know in english, we can not always define morae. it's completely different from Japanese morae system. But when I learn Swahili, ...
3
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2answers
847 views

English onsets with /s/ and sonority hierarchy

Why are clusters such as /sk/ (as in sky), /st/ (stop), and /sp/ (spill) allowed as onsets in English? The sonority decreases in these clusters and does that not violate the phonotactic rules? On a ...
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3answers
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Is syllable boundary properly annotated at the phonetic or phonological level?

Should syllable boundary be indicated in the phonetic and/or phoneme transcription? /dog.gi/ [dog.gi] 'doggy' /doggi/ [dog.gi] 'doggy' Or does the choice of one of the two strategies have certain ...
3
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2answers
323 views

Word and/or syllable frequency data for Lao

I've returned my language focus to Lao now that my travels through Asia have finished and I'm back home. There are not as many or as high quality resources available for Lao as for many other ...
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1answer
320 views

What is the explanatory value of moras: why do we need syllable weight?

I understand that morae are used to determine stress and timing in some languages, so obviously there's some motivation to posit their existence in the syllable. But I am not sure I understand what ...
3
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2answers
631 views

Why is recognition based on phonemes and not syllables or morphemes?

Why is recognition based on detecting individual phonemes, and not chunks such as morphemes or syllables?.. My question were in relation to human perception, and the existence of phonetic boundary, ...
3
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1answer
152 views

"split into" -- putting the stress on the right syllable

I heard a non-native speaker of English saying something would be "split into". After a fraction of a second I realized that what was intended was "split in two". The difference appears to be that ...
3
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2answers
212 views

Can R sound follow a schwa in a syllable?

Let me ask a question of an usage of schwa as a phoneme and [r]. This [r] is the sound which is used in English and generally expressed with R and not [r] expressed with IPA. Schwa can be regarded ...
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1answer
520 views

What is X in a syllable C=consonant, V=vowel

I don't under stand (X) and (s/sh) in this sentence. As opposed to Hebrew CV(X)(C), the non-Semitic syllable structure of Israeli, (s/sh)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(s/sh)
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2answers
450 views

What are the arguments against Wells’s syllabification of English?

In Syllabification and Allophony John Wells argues for a view of English syllabification based on phonetic processes within the pronunciation of words. He mentions elsewhere that it is unorthodox, but ...
3
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1answer
59 views

Is there distinct jargon for syllabaries depending on their inventory?

The dictionary definition of a syllabary is "a set of written characters representing syllables and (in some languages or stages of writing) serving the purpose of an alphabet." I would personally ...
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3answers
405 views

Is there re-syllabification in Chinese?

I'm reading prosodic phonology, and wondering if there is any re-syllabification process happening in Mandarin Chinese?
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2answers
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How can I use C's and V's to describe syllable structures in a way that rules out highly unlikely syllable structures?

How can I use C's and V's to describe syllable structures in a way that rules out highly unlikely syllable structures? For example, I recently looked up the fact that "The structure of the Hawaiian ...
3
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1answer
4k views

What are the most commonly used Chinese syllables?

There are about 1200 or so unique (includes all tones) Mandarin Chinese syllables, according to some source I read a while back based off the Unihan database. For my applications I'm limited to using ...
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2answers
489 views

How do you bound a syllable / split a word into syllables programmatically?

What are the rules for bounding a syllable? I am trying to take IPA text and write software to automatically separate the syllables for the word. By trying I am still just thinking about how to do it. ...
2
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3answers
407 views

How to learn computer syllabification of IPA?

As in title. Lets say we have uhm anything (hollywood): /hɑˈliwʊˌd/ now how to make algorithm that will find all syllables in this IPA transcription: /hɑˈliwʊˌd/ => /hɑ.li.wʊd/ We can do this, ...
2
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1answer
995 views

Is the /k/ sound in McDonald considered syllabic? (and insertion of /@/ when pronouncing syllable onsets)

Using the formal syllable identification rules, you have the following (with an example pronunciation): MacDonald => Mac + Don + ald (`/məkdˈɒnl̩d/`) McDonald => McDon + ald (`/məkdˈɒnl̩d/`) ...