30 votes

How does the nonsense word "frabjous" conform to English phonotactics?

You mention the pronunciation /ˈfɹæb.dʒəs/ in the comments; this is how I would pronounce it too. Phonotactics are usually explained in terms of constraints ("you can't do this"), so the ...
Draconis's user avatar
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24 votes
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How to split IPA spelling into syllables

This is, in fact, possible! It's not trivial, but it is straightforward. Your goal seems to be to break an English word (written in phonemic IPA) into syllables. There's a bit of controversy about ...
Draconis's user avatar
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21 votes
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How languages compare with the number of different syllables from all words?

Yoon Mi Oh's 2015 thesis (pages 44-45) provides estimates of the number of syllables for various languages, gathered by taking the 20,000 most frequent words in a corpus of each language and counting ...
Draconis's user avatar
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11 votes

Why are "two instances of /r/ in one word" awkward?

The only sensible interpretation of that claim that I can see is that having two instances of r in a word poses a special articulatory challenge. However there is no evidence to support that claim. A ...
user6726's user avatar
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10 votes

Japanese kun'yomi with final N?

Kun-readings are an orthographic notation for the native lexical stratum (Yamato-kotoba). So the underlying question is, are there native morphemes with closed syllables (that is, with a consonant at ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
10 votes

How to present affricates in onset consonant clusters

The whole point of the notion of the affricate is to point out that it behaves like a single segment, an observation that allows us to make further generalisations and predictions about its ...
Unbrutal_Russian's user avatar
9 votes

Can languages restrict their number of distinct syllables when written by syllabaries?

No. The use of a ‘characters writing system’ (I take it you mean something not simply alphabetic) does not restrict the number of distinct syllables. Even if you look at Yoon Mi Oh's list there's no ...
Anonymous's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Are there any languages that only allow CV syllables?

Good question! I wasn't able to find any unambiguous examples either with a short search, and I found one source that says there are no known examples of languages with only CV syllables. ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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8 votes
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Is it possible for a word-initial vowel to not have a glottal stop before it?

English words with vowel initial tend to get a glottal stop. This occurs in most dialects, so a native speaker wouldn’t notice its presence or absence; they will just hear it as a “normal” vowel. ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Why English is missing some phoneme sequences (/aʊv/ or /aʊp/)

I don't think it's 3 or 4. Any rule that exists is not particularly "strict" (see the various kinds of counterexamples listed below). The diphthong /aʊ/ does sound similar to /æl/ or /ɑl/, ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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8 votes

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

The first reason for [sɪŋ.ɪŋ] is the premise that [ŋ] only appears in the coda. The main argument for that conclusion is the analogy between word position and syllable position. Steriade has some ...
user6726's user avatar
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8 votes
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How do you bound a syllable / split a word into syllables programmatically?

It's also a widely-held axiom in linguistics (phonology, specifically) that segments are always syllabified, in all languages. But that is not an empirically well-supported claim. There are certainly ...
user6726's user avatar
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7 votes
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Can a syllabic consonant exist between two vowels?

It is quite rare, but it arguably exists. Fante Akan has syllabic consonants which appear at ends pf words, preceded by a vowel. Such a word can be followed by a vowel-initial word, thus [ɔ̀pám̀ àtàŕ]...
user6726's user avatar
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7 votes
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Do languages generally tend to avoid palindromic syllables?

There are several reasons conspiring to make palindromic syllables rare in natural languages Most languages have certain restrictions on the beginning and ending consonant clusters of syllables, and ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
7 votes

How languages compare with the number of different syllables from all words?

Terminologically, I think you are interested in the number of "distinct syllables" in a language. "Syllabic phoneme" means, approximately, "vowels", but also syllabic ...
user6726's user avatar
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7 votes

Can languages restrict their number of distinct syllables when written by syllabaries?

There is a very good reason for thinking that this is coincidence. The reason is that a language has the same number of syllables whether it is written or not, and whether it is written with one form ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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7 votes

Can languages restrict their number of distinct syllables when written by syllabaries?

In some cases, I do think there's a causal link here. However, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, and Thai have very different writing systems, so I wouldn't group them all together as "characters"....
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes

Are there any languages that only allow CV syllables?

Cayuvava, Hua (Yagaria), Hawaiian and Senufo are the languages most widely misbelieved in the literature to have only CV syllables. Key 1961 "Phonotactics of Cayuvava" (IJAL) clearly shows CVV and V ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes
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Is there a "maximal coda principle"?

The quoted sentence from the Wikipedia article isn't very clear, and I wouldn't be confident that the author knew what they were talking about. Syllables and syllabification rules are very ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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6 votes

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

It's a widely-held axiom in linguistics that syllabification is never phonemic. In other words, words aren't stored in your brain pre-broken-down into syllables; that syllabification happens later ...
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes

Consonant clusters in English - how many exist exactly?

The same page has a list of final consonant clusters further down: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_phonology#Coda However, medial clusters are a third situation, in the sense that the medial ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Semitic (Afroasiatic?) Root Constraints

The classic original study is Joseph Greenberg 1950 "The Patterning of Root Morphemes in Semitic" (Word 5, 162–181). A later study with a larger lexicon was conducted by M. Mrayati 1987 "Statistical ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes
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Letter switching? "r" and vowels switching

The process is called metathesis, and as you suggest, it is common in language change, and in individual errors. Besides "bird", other well-known examples are English dialect "aks" for "ask" (a purely ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

The breakdown of the word "strength" or "cheap" or "sheep"

You have to start with well-grounded assumptions of what you are modeling. The most fundamental concept that you're dealing with is the segment. The claim is / has been that what we produce and hear ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes
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How complex contour tones get in languages

At the phonetic level, nobody really know how complex it "can" be. As you presumably know, F0 is a windowed function, and if we take a standard window of 10 msc., you can get a huge number of integer ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes

Is Swahili a Mora-counting language like Japanese?

In essence, Swahili stress has two rules: If the word is shaped like NC(C*)V, the first nasal is syllabic, and stressed. (For example, ḿbwa "dog", ḿtu "person".) Otherwise, the stress is on the ...
Draconis's user avatar
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5 votes
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Why are some (coda) clusters hard to pronounce in onsets?

"Hard to pronounce" is a popular cover term regarding phonological patterns the violate the rules of the language, and it doesn't have anything to do with overly-taxing physical movements. In this ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes

How does the nonsense word "frabjous" conform to English phonotactics?

As a new contributor myself, I have to post this as an answer, though it's slight enough that it should really be a comment on Draconis' excellent answer (specifically a response to TKR's comment on ...
tea-and-cake's user avatar
5 votes

Is it not true that large phoneme inventories allow more syllables?

There's a similar problem with consonants. Oddly, I have issues pronouncing the voiced fricatives in certain environments. Such phones are rare, and in languages that have them like English they're ...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes

Ending a word in a stressed "h"

"Stress" is a property of syllables, not consonants, so you could drop the restriction "stressed". In fact, no words in English end in [h], leaving out spelling where it is an orthographic device to ...
user6726's user avatar
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