29

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 short answer is that it doesn't violate any of those constraints. If we look at all the parts individually: /fɹ/ is a valid onset, as in "frog" /æb/ is ...


18

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 how useful the concept of a "syllable" is in English, and a few different theories about what exactly a "syllable" is if it does exist, but the following is ...


16

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 the different syllables that show up. Ordering them by increasing number of syllables: Japanese: 643 Korean: 1104 Mandarin: 1274 Cantonese: 1298 Basque: 2082 ...


11

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 more plausible explanation is that the cause is perceptual. First, we may assume (there is some evidence) that r has a subtle long-distance effect in words, ...


10

By 'natural' you seem to be referring to what sounds (or phonemes) can be combined in what order. This is called phonotactics. For example, mo in your example mobify is a combination of a consonant and a vowel that fairly often occurs in English, in words such as motor (for simplicity I'm ignoring here that spelling doesn't exactly reflect pronunciation - ...


10

In thinking about this it's important to distinguish between phonetics and phonology. Phonetically a diphthong is a sequence of two vowel targets, wherein the tongue starts at one vowel position and moves to another. For this reason it may sometimes be described as a combination of vowel and glide, but it's best to understand the articulatory facts of what ...


10

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 the end)? Originally, no; Old Japanese was a CV language (syllables started with a consonant and ended in a vowel). However, what are currently voiced ...


9

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 reason to assume this. The gap between Cantonese and Basque isn't all that great and Korean uses an alphabet. The list is also fairly biased, for example many ...


8

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/, but it's hard for me to imagine how this could have influenced the distribution of the sound /aʊ/. 1 seems the closest, although a different, more diachronic-...


8

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 discussion (reference not available at the moment) questioning syllables (attributing speaker behavioral such as intuitions to analogy to word-positions), and I ...


8

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 a number of languages which provide various kinds of evidence that the syllable can be a thing, just as [ʕ] can be a segment of a language, but not every ...


7

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] "he sewed + a dress" (accents are tone). The historical explanation is that final CV was reduced to a syllabic consonant in some contexts, so compare Akuapem ...


7

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 those restrictions are typically not symmetrical, i.e., in general a reversed syllable needn't be legal a diphthong at the syllable core cannot occur in a ...


7

Terminologically, I think you are interested in the number of "distinct syllables" in a language. "Syllabic phoneme" means, approximately, "vowels", but also syllabic consonant (as exist in some languages), and with the provision that the sound has to be contrastive and not allophonic (for instance, you would not count with [ə] ...


7

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 of script or another. Mandarin has the same number of syllables whether it is written in characters or Pinyin. The only way the pattern could be significant is ...


7

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". (Japanese is a syllabary plus logograms, Mandarin is pure logograms, Korean is an alphabet, and Thai is an abugida.) Focusing on Japanese specifically, ...


6

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. Formally speaking, a glottal + vowel is perceived as an allophone of that vowel alone. However, there is a significant difference between pronunciation of word-...


6

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. Understanding Phonology (Fourth Edition), by Carlos Gussenhoven and Haike Jacobs, says: The onset may be obligatory. Languages with obligatory onsets are not hard to ...


6

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 according to regular rules. The reasoning behind this axiom is a bit circular, since it sometimes requires you to finagle your underlying phonemic forms to encode ...


5

To answer (1): in Greek, geminates syllabify across a syllable boundary, so the first syllable is closed, e.g. γλῶτ.τα. We know this for two reasons: We know that Greek doesn't allow a syllable to begin with a geminate, because if it did, there should be words where this occurs initially (e.g. *ττα) or after a consonant (e.g. *γλῶρττα), and such words don't ...


5

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 consonantal example, but still regarded as the same phenomenon) and many examples in the Wikipedia article I linked to. Note that this is nothing to do with ...


5

Answers to your questions have to be prefaced with disclaimers about how one determines that something has a mora, or not -- phonology has embraced and eschewed the concept, and used it for all sorts of things. With that caveat, it has become a matter of virtual principle that every syllable nucleus has a mora (though Piggott 1995 "Epenthesis and syllable ...


5

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 studies of Arabic language roots". The OCP controversy features this pattern prominently. There are different degrees of strength to the particular effects, for ...


5

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 vectors for durations up to 400 msc. But it's physically impossible to change F0 from 100 Hz to 400 Hz within the course of 10 or 20 msc. There are also very ...


5

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 theoretical topics. I think most theories that recognize the syllable as a unit of analysis do include reasons for the supposed "maximal onset principle" (or some similar ...


5

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 second vowel from the end, and there are no syllabic nasals. (For example, kusóma "to read", nitazibembeléza "I'm going to pet them", kondóo "sheep".) One way to ...


5

"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 case, there is a concept of "sonority", which is a pairwise relationship between sounds and how they are ordered within the syllable, that sonority should rise ...


5

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 it). I think the spelling makes <frabjous> look a bit less English than it sounds. Draconis enumerates lots of good reasons for why it's phonotactically ...


4

"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 indicate something else. There are some languages with final h (Sundanese, Arabic, Somali and North Saami in one interpretation), but it isn't common across ...


4

It is hazardous to ask questions about sound system of English without saying what dialects you mean, and what kind of analysis you are assuming, because the answer is "It depends...". The observable facts are "how things are pronounced", i.e. the phonetics of English, so you should start there. The vowel [ə] does not appear before [ɹ] (the English version ...


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