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Charles-James N. Bailey

Reproduced by the
Indiana .University Linguistics Club
310 Lindley Hall
Sloomington, Indiana 47401
February, 1978

, ,Ii \


AftE::r:} discussion of the general kinds cf c'J'idt:'nce that inay be

used for syllabization, data from at least twenty-eight rules are
adduced ;n favor of several principles of Erg! ish syJ labization. in
every instance but perhaps one, the syllabi7ation is gradient, a) Jow­
ing more consonants in a cluster to be syllabified with the hea;ier­
accented cf two surrounding nuclei a~ the tempo increases. The
principles to which 1#1 is relevant are duly noted, and four tempos
relevant to syllabization are distinguished. A number of minor issues
are disposed of, including the difference bct\oJeen phonological and
phonetic syllabization. Problems in the use of assimi lations as
evidence for syllabization are pin-pointed. It is proposed that
what is unmarked syllabization is relevant to the rhythm, in turn
dependent on the kind of accentuation a language has, and that what
is unmarked in a language I ike Engl ish is to have cor.c;onants -- the
more as the tempo is faster -- be syllabified with a heavier, I-ather
than I ighter, adjacent nucleus. Thus both rhythm and tempo are
relevant to the concept of "unmarked syliabization." Even the size
of a consonantal cluster may influence th~ other factors, so that [~l
in eytra ['~kstra] ~ay be more likely to be syllabified with the
preceding accented nucleus than the [t] in trickster, as indicated
by the aspiration test. Frequency of usage is also shown to affect
syllabization. Since four e3rly rules nresuppose the syllable-timed
definition of "unmarked syllabization" in order to capture their
~eneral izations, while the other rules presuppose the other defini­
t;rm, it is proposed that rules preceding and inc.ludin9 the dCc.ent
rules presuppose the unmarked rhythm and the usual V-C(R)V syl Jabiza­
tior! that goes \vith that; a convention requires that, foll(J\"Jing the
rule intrOducing ~n Engl Ish-l ike acc~nt, phonological rules pre­
.su!,;Jose the revised definition of "unmarked syllabization" that llOCS
~: Lh th~ rhythm this kind of accent entails.

o Charles-Janes N. Bailey



Charles-James N. Bailey

Technische Universitat Berl in

Structural I inguists frequently studied the syllable and proclaimed

its relevance for I inguistic analysis. While studies of the syllable
took on something of an underground cast in the earl iest days of gene­
rative phonology, they have now come back into their own. Work pre­
vious to 1961 is well summarized in Hala (1961), and another good sum­
mary is found in Kloster Jensen (1963). Writings which are previous to
these dates but are not cited in these works, or which have appeared
subsequently, and are known to the present writer include: Barker
(1922), Haugen and Twadell (1942), Hala (1962), FI iflet (1962), Rosetti
(1962, [1963]), Rischel (1963), Fry (1964), Malmberg (1965), Kozhevnikov
and Chistovi~h (1965), Sharp (1965), Anderson (1966), Lebrun (1966),
Hoard (1966), Kohler (1966, 1967), Ladefoged (1967), Lehiste and Ivic
(1967), Lindblom (1968), Bailey (1968a), Huggins (1968), Mulder (1968),
Bondarko (1969), Fudge (1969),1 Brown (1969), Fudge and Brown (1969),
Lehiste (1970), Pulgram (1970a,b), Kohler (1970), Rischel (1970),
Hoard (1971), Bell (1971), MS, Vennemann (1972), Hooper (1972), Nessly
MS, Karttunen MS, Rice MS, as well as other papers touching less direct­
lyon the subject, an unpubl ished talk by Stampe, and some forthcoming
Ph.D. theses. r omit mention of several important papers on rhythm,
on syncope and anaptyxis, and the I ike in Engl ish, although these also
bear on the topic of syllabization. Fromkin (1966, 1968, 1971) and
Kim (1971) are relevant to our subject. Lebrun (1966) showed that
the perception of syllabic structures is not uniform across languages,
and offered a sound critique of O'Connor and Trim (1953), among others.

The present writer will be excused from omitting a discussion of

the merits and demerits of these writers (except the few cited later
on) on the grounds that the present analysis presupposes a gradient
framework which is incommensurate with the presuppositions of almost
all other writers on the subject. It is especially fitting that a
gradient analysis of syllabization should appear in a volume dedicated
to Dwight Bol inger, who years before the idea's tiMe had come braved
the disdain of I inguistic orthodoxies to insist that gradience is a
necessary aspect of prosodic analysis, especially where Engl ish is
concerned. 2

SYLLABIC BOUNDARIES are phonetic in a way that other boundaries

are not. (Morpheme boundaries (1/ + //) are lexical facts, whi Ie
internal (/::/) and external (I /) "Jord boundaries are derivationally
or syntactically generated.) SYLLABIZATION refers to the determina­
tion of and the function of syllabic boundaries. Only accidentally
does this term refer to the number of syllables in an utterance -­
known to every poctustcr v;ho is;) n",til'. c'f""dkr:r of t'lc lan(ju-lC;L \~'"
",ill kno\'! that prr:nium may have t,J:, I three syllables). SYLLABrU,TJON
dot: not directly refer to the f':'ature [syllabic] (C'1,1) 1 by ,0 ',me
Ilriters) or [nuclear] (emplOyed by others); such ftat e" refer to the
s'illabicity of a :.eC):lcnt, nc·t to a bc.undary, and they art' r I vclnt
to s\!llclhiZdtir;n or"" ind;"ectl,/ in the C3~,C of a;" ar,t, lie ',,;nC'(,;jr,t
( C i . : : i 1 i i / ["I1IJ [I_f:+ii(, ',·)1;', ['w!-ilJ Clr,d ['.,r:ii1. " .." ,,'IUI,'I
[1'",i'r,ln".J ,);)(1 [I ,.,;"n,J], and I1nm:um ['pr'ri, i::,r;,] .:~nd 1',"lr I : : : , ] ) .

A distinctior. is often made betv/cen PHONOLUCICAL ')HlABUS cii1d

PHONETIC SYLLABLES. Thus, although !)F(.:rniu1'!' has three phc,nc}'ooic,Ji
syllables, it may have either two or t'Jrce pr,onctic syl L:::wl"", 11w
undprlying rcprese~tation of dissyl labic 5~~S~ [I za~J is ~nnosill~bic
IlsrJiJ~rr:!1 (d. ie); that of di s'I1aci..:: ,:,'nter [, ] i<:"'l(ln,,­
syllabic I/'"ir:'rll (cf. c'~nLJ31); Clnd that of ':'i;:..;c:re [I r,::;'o!
(cf. jJ1Edsc) necessilrily has three underlYing syllables (\;iz. II j-;:+
ure/I) i II order for the accented VOllie 1 to be 1 i ghtened /:i:1d f~)r /" //
to be changed to Iyo/ (which is further alrered in the env;rG~~tnL
In question). Fluid and poet are dis3yJ13bic in their urdcrl'lin<j
represenlations (cf. flui'lity and !~,octlc), but uSlji311y :T.{;n,~syllaLic
phonetically. (In the discussion of principle IV, it i" sho"'/n that if
these \·,'ords are drallJled as dissyl1 bl(~s, [I,d is C)"t)lnatically heol'c
between the vocal ic nuclei). As will be seen, nne principle of
syl1.abization has to be presupposed for' the early phon::::logical rule
of Engl ish, while later rules presuppose another principle of syl1a­

Th~: determination of the principles of syllabization, a~) ,::IJ be

clear, has more than one source. Phonological syllabization is determinE
Irof'l the way this or that phonological rule operate, i)::,su1'Iing it "
be a rule for which syllabization is relevant -- i.e. enables th~
I ing0 i st to capture a greater general ization than otherwise woul~ be
possitl~ (see illustrations below), Phonetic syllabization i5 widely
ccgard,>j today (but ct. the exte~dcd discussion ir: Kif"': (1"171: 1~2-76)
as the mar'.ncr in \'Jhich brain signals to the r"otor nerv(;:s J~(' p~ck() :.'d.
Evidence for this ~onclu5ion is ph~3iG1Ggicdl and JCcu.r:: (e.g. M3i~bcr~
(191)5,)); Sp00:1E:l isms, Artifit,:;allv induceJ 5tutterir.9. u:'J the !ikc r::,
cfL'3' j'" ,,, us,.::d. But the !',ost useful ~vidence rt:!1'airr~, tiHe: ('r)2;6~ i,," (',f
pr:o'1«<,::,',: <,I ruit::;, as indicuted by phonetic evidence, Thic, is tr',
,:oven t:1o:.:gh ';'JCh cvid2r,ce has often lee the ~;n'.'dr, astray.

If t:he :Jni:-'5 of speech productio0 .Fe s llable- i',::d, ':'

,jefinitic,n of the (pilor.etic) sylldb:c· 0uqht not to be Ji'fi<.:ult !()
'::Or,',? b,;. 'w~,i Ie it is easy er,ough to d'~ternin,;\'lhere cC'c"1tcd <;,/11 I' t'
b~gin .. - such b(:qinr:ings coincide y.llth 1~le:')sur8~jle cJ..;(,(". ~\!j~~)l.~~ /~,~(~,~
fo~;cj (l q 67: 4(-, ~71: -- it is by nO~'C,jn~) ec~v t.1J d~tcr I h : "ih( :f; ,'n
i'CC""I'.;·d yl],:,bl.: bcgi'l or vi~,erc: ':In, ';,,'; L~l('s net: fIlm/cd ::" ,',CC ,ltd'
one':! L·~·d. ';~~ failure to recognize tl~is differe:1(>2 ~l'} ;~f·"':ll:,~,;ti.... J
rOr'fIC: ",f,k' (c ~j. Stetson (1951); Sf'" al'.o n. j;. C:;,<,_ t~l'. '., c C ,

Bailey - 3

phonological and phonetic transcriptions, for any given utterance in

a language 1 ike Engl ish it is important for a phonetic transcription

to represent the onset of accent with ticks ([' ,]). This mode of

representing the coincidence of syl labization with the onset of accent

would extend beyond particular utterances even to phonological trans­

criptions of the language (at least in a given lect) if it were true,

as generally supposed up till now, that there is a fixed place for the

syllabic boundary in each Engl ish word. But the old method of repre­

senting accent with acute and grave marks ov~r nuclear peaks for

full and mid accentuation, respectively, seems more appropriate for

phonological representations, if it is true that there are variable

and tempo-dependent but rule-governed locations of accent boundaries

in languages with accentuation and rhythm I ike Engl ish. It should

be clear that this comment does not apply to phonetic representations,

which are always utterance-specific.

Before proceeding further, a few distinctions are in order.

An OPEN (or UNCHECKED) syllable ends in a nuclear segment (a peak
or diphthongal satell ite), while a CLOSED (or CHECKED) syllable
ends in a non-nuclear or consonantal segment. (Cf. also n. 27.)
Note that after underlying sonorants have been changed (in some
environments in some lects) to nuclear segments (peaks or satel lites)
or have been deleted by the appropriate rules, they lose the potential
for checking a syllable. Contrast the closed syllable in school SS
['skoUI] with the half-open syllable in NS ['skut:J, where the
syllable ends in a nuclear satell ite, not in a consonant. The under­
lying consonant I1III is changed to [+] in Milton, so that there is
no internuclear cluster of consonants and [Q] is therefore possible
here -- though it is not possible after clustered [t) in Acton or
Weston. But II 1# becomes the nuclear peak [+] in consultation
[.khe'ts+'th"i san ], where the possibility of its closing the syllable
is totally ruled out. Parallel examples with Ilrll can be cited.
There is carton ['khc,(a):tr.' 'kh,~C1tt;l), where syllabic [,,1] follows un­
clustered [t); the [r] in laborious SS [la'bo u r I e e ' bo.3"rlas] does
not, and the [.;1] or [a] in labor could not, close a syllable. The
deletion of the first nasal in some pronunciations of sentence
[I ?QC,J precludes this segment from closing the first syllable or
from clustering with [t] to prevent [~]; contrast Acton and Weston
(above) .

The syllabization of consonants between nuclei is generally consider­

ed to be UNMARKED (universally more expected) where the syllabic
boundary (-) is located thus: V--{(R)V (where V is a vowel, C is any
consonant, and R is any sonorant consonant; C must be an obstruent
when R is present). Certain qual ifications have to be appended to such
a statement inasmuch as the syllable-initial clusters [tn tm 'I jn a~
dl], are unnatural, relatively unexpected, and therefore marked. Other
syllabizations than the unmarked one -- e.g. VC-(R)V and VCR~V -- have
to be MARKED syllabizations. The syllable FOREPART is the part of a
syllable preceding the nuclear peak; the AFTERPART follows the nuclear
segment(s). The terms PRENUCLEAR a~d FOSINUCLEAR should be restricted
to segments immediately precedin~ and following the nucleus, r~spectiv
I y.

The syllabization of ,) lang:;age may Dt.' changed after the 1"nQIJi19C

under-goes milssive loss, insertioG, or rnetarht,;:;i" f IC1.;el·; Cf ]"e,;
of cons(,ndnts in the .1fterp,ll ts of s.,-i lables. 1hi·~ cal~ 01 <,'i,l; \.'
affect Of bf., dffccted b) the rhythl" and accu,tu.Jtion, The prt'l',i',tl)ric.
proto-Slavic language dropped postnuclear obstruents ttl creal~ n~en
syllables as much as possible. In addition, early Slavic changed
CVR sequences in certain instances to CRV: (South Slavic; e.g ~r~J
'cityl), or else created open syllables by insertirr9 a duplicate of
the vowel after the R (East Slavic; cf. Russian gorod 'city').

Let us nov, examine some of the kinc1s of evidence th.;)t cap [,\.',,'':; ... (1
for determining the place of syllabic boundaries.

Somet imes redupl icat ion patterns \ in lan9~;ages where redufJl1C3­

tion is a I iving, productive process -- not I imited as in Engl ;sh
mishmash, flimfldm, zigzag, nicknack, ch~'(('hat, ri~·f~·aff) offer
valuable clues to the principles of sy! labization. Evidence from
Pig Latin has sometimes been used for English Sy·il.:lbization. !-Joweler,
it should be noted that Pig Latin is, i ike formal poetic recitation,
a highly monitored form of Engl ish in which the normal prose r'hythrr',
accent-timed rhythnl, is replaced by syllable-timed rhyth~" It,tll11
become clear toward the end of this iHticle why thh fact inval idates
any conclusions about Engl ish syllabizaticn which are based On evidenc
from Pig Latin. Truncation is not always a sure test either. One
might infer a syllabization of Mich-ae2 and Mir:ch~el on the basis of
abbreviations I ike Mike and Mitch, bi.;t even lects which demonsUably
sy II ab i fy Sa-lly and Je-rry t runca te them to SJ.l and Jer I •

The investigation of accentuation offers another way of inferring

facts i.,Dout syllabization. !n Latin, where nll enclitic is involved
the next-to-last syllable of a trissyl labic or longpr word is
accented when it contains a I iqht nucleus follow8d by ~ tautosyl
lab i c segment (e. g. rae], [3 f == [a:], and [q,], ,I, i' ,'ff,;'Clun;);
() ttl e r ',,! i s e , I. e. i f t he s y 1 1a b lee n d sill a I i 9 h t n \J elf' ,_~. t he ace e n t
is V1 tl~, syllable ;)recedinq­ the next-to-last or.~', if tbere is one,
In per.f .3c"-'tnm, Olle f:'ust infer a syllabic boundary fl.llmv ir'
f [I.J (tic:
not: necessa~ilv imrn~diately follol'ling it), whih' I') 'Leer,; t'le f"et
thdt the secend :;yllable is not accented lead to nw c,mr:lu ic;e: ti'.:~i
the ~yllabization is f~la-crt.;. Gc,mparc eJ,jicr' th'.·~d'd ..iitb ja t ",'
cath ' 1c1-ra.

However, chanqe~ are t r c :; U res tel uest 0 S ')' I I 2 biz 2 t i (; n ,

h th(~kvc!opf'i'~:ltof La::in into ')"./ rdl of the Romanct.:' langu." "e
acc~n:cd short C Jnd 0 were diphthorqized :n npen 5yl111-: 1 e'3, '7:C'idl'''~
r, ,:.::0.1 in Ital ian, for example. CC":~,:He La' in lY'k with ~!-epch . c_; ~

Ba i 1ey - 5

and Latin bonum with standard Ital ian buono. One infers that [~r]
in Latin petra (originally Greek) was a cluster entirely syllabified
with the following vowel because of the changes seen in Ital ian

Assimilation may, if used with particular caution, indicate

principles of syllabization. Thus, German II xii is assimilated

to [<;] next -to a front vowel (though not only there; cf. chaos) in

psycho- and Ichabod, but not in Joachim, showing that before an

unaccented vowel the consonant must be syllabified with a preceding

nucleus. The English early rule that assibilates II gil 'in regent

(d. regal) and II Ie/I in opacity (d. opaque) requires syllabifying

these stops with the following vO\,/el (before altered by the vowel­
~hift and vowel-reduction rules), as do a few other rules. But the
tendency toward palatal ization of these stops in regal ['rig+] and
tickle [Ithl~+] is evidence that the operative late rule presumes
that the velar stops have been syllabified with the preceding accented
vowel. Note additionally that the fact that the [1] in ticking is
more fronted than in tickle and ticker (where non-front unaccented
nuclei follow the prevelar [~]; Sledd (1966» shows that the degree
of fronting of the II kll is not independent of the vowel in the next
syllable. (I as~ume that the frontedness of II kll is what affects
the frontednessof the preceding vowel.) But the assimilation of
Ilvll to [f] in hafta (= IlhclVe to") is not completely irrefragable
evidence that [ft] are both syllabified with the preceding accented
vowel in the tempo in which this assimilation occurs.

One must distinguish morphological from phonological assimi la­

tions, metatheses, and vowel changes (ablaut and some umlauts are
morphological). The assimilation of the Latin formative con- to
com- across syllabic boundaries, as in compound(where the aspiration
of the [ph] shows that the labial stop is syllable-initial), is
morphological. Contrast the failure of in to assimi late to im in
in place (except in very rapid tempos)6 with the assimilation of
both Latin in- in impose and of Engl ish in to im in rapidly pronounced
im between. The lack of accent on the syllable be- in the last
example allows Ilbll to be syllabified with the preceding syllable
(see principle Ib, where 1#/ plays I ittle role), so that II rll preced­
ing it can be assimilated to Iml in allegro tempos. Heavier accents
require perhaps more rapid tempos for this syllabization and assimila­
tion to occur; e.g. hempecked, one [Iw/,M] moment, raimbow, grampa.
Compare these well-known examples of phonological assimilation in
English: congress (contrast congressional) and co~versation (contrast
converse). The effect of accent here is clear, but in morphological
assimilation accent is irrelevant, which indicates that syllabiza­
tion is irrelevant to morphological assimilation. (See more on tempo
effects later on.)

Voicing effects are very subtle. Since in normal connected

speech at ordinary tempos, English-speakers devoice obstruents and
(; - Sa i Icy

even sonorant:> adjacent to I (~",-, 'lell ,'ICl'd bou~lddrif';), as ~:l:ll

<1:0 sonorant consonants to tauto yll,',Lic hedvy ric,;ti ~" <:Jtter,;, ts

helve beer, ill3de to d<~tcrfTIine th(: c,:"lL,':,icatiof' of ,,'tT: d'ld rir'!".

en thl: basis of unvoicing [r]. Thi:c cviderce IS h:lrdll v:crH

"my thing, but exar:lple5 gi,,',j, late' thelt involvl' lh,,; dr, ic in~l (t

':> c' r, U rail t s fl. F;- [ r h ~:' 'Ji FP I r: /'\ T ! Vt:: S ;,.1' v d I i c! I 'I t'L t: I' j () 'r ~ ll. Lc· .. '

I " \ C 1 \j dr, ali (' 11 ~, i nth e ! 0 i c. i n Cj c f I [ , t .:: r n L. (. I ".J r ( I i rI" i', t II

'J ,j r j c!.. j e .~> Q j t rig 1 ; s h ,~- t:. 9 ~ I r r..' L', 1 d n d T" ICC' ! f ( J ~ L I ; . II I ,

iJ Inore cievoicl:d [,,] in Irebel thar, in IOi~':::J -- offer \!vrt Sliud

evidence for syllabization precisely because such pheI>CJiTit'!ICl a l t '

;;roduced be I a,,-' the threshold of consciousne<.s. The vc'r i IOvl' It,,~ I

pilcnonlclla of nuclear and consonantal length in Engl isll e,l'e PI"Obdt,j\

also good indicators of syllabizatirJn,;' Thus, S5 [ ] (TW (,n])

in l!~nto hiP. is longer than 5S [-J (T'''': [:;1) in ; , ' , ' C \',!i :r, '

/';/ for mdn( spe.:lkers); this lengtt1 n::J doubt"5 ',yllat,l" ',:,1'


The di I tLrt.:'n(c':, just noted bct'?Wf;fl L:i'l.... ;~ 'c nd i el, tlCI"·u.i

un ,...r1ether un interndl word boundary (j I) i:, pre c·lt. It ,,,,ill ~l(
seen at various POirlts in the follol')ing discus:,ion that "ju,'d ['c,ll'HL,[ '1.",
can be important for -;yllabization, at least in th' lm'iu tempos iI,
which they are not deleted. Interconscnantai 1/ i/ ilnd (under CLrtdlt1
conditions) 11:;11 are deletable in varying ree~·. In rwrrnal ter:,p','O
p()stcon~,onuntal 11'11 is often or usually del ted before heten::­
'yllabic II 'Ii t'll by many speakers, but not bdorc f/r-csur:aiJly taUi()"
syllabic II r'l/ follol-Ied by an unaccented nucleus; cf. tLus(t).v.\):L
and f17u,·;(t} run with V('s~'tr(j. In (a,.~t:,'ard II til is more dclctablc
etlan in v·,.'stTlI, but less deletable than in Cl'U';t(\'OIr,i pl . Wh('(~ /:;1
pl'ec.edes 111vI trl/, they are never deleted; e.g. tv.'l('t tw't'nl:li,
once tried. This fact allows us to conclude that intercon~unan[~1
//"11 is not deleted when syllablc-il,itial (where it; ,'lspiratiul"l
p"c:vidcs a clue in all prosodic er,,,;ronments), arci th;'lt it tt,,:'rC'fcr2
is sy~l;lble-tinal 'I:nen deleted (O( changed to I':;'; sec bcIO\;).
This upported Ly the normal dl;'!lE:tion ()f ;nt0rr::unc~"n.;,'1tdl ;: ~I/
bef()re an obstr'Jelll, nasal, or I iql,id:::' note that c1 :,te~ {;t /1 'i/
;:lu such consona s are not pen,,;rt0rJ at th,; Lee;i" i;l,; {if Erl'ii,';
i -,r- d', . 1 : I n t e i po sin vi h i chi H! i '-; (1 U '- del etc \i, ~! <: -, y I I ,I b i l. t u. [. ( i j 1
iFl '-r,r"ish coincides with it except in the i'vi'OF' (,~ J;c;;t.;scd ir,
C(;W 1 L,c..tior. v.ith [)I'inciple Ib belo ..l.

It will lat~i:Jc fownd th2t Enqli h lect~ (I:';.::r ,)11 th:- ~ 11.l'I,',"'
tiNt of interrli,:clear glides and liquids. ~ht' hi,t r:CJ: <tL~t,
to' all lcct~, se'~:lS to have been such Lhat intcr:<uclc:dr ~: ,des "d tl
../h'-lt we h,]ve b,-l":l cllling J r:",rked s)llat,izati()n, ',l:. t:',,. v,E."''!
tauto'yllabic,lith the preceding nur:leu. This ie, i:'J,'>led lJV j~,
tho n q - de r i v ( d nuclei 1nth e ;'j '": i_ d"t c' d fir s t i 'I I 1at! ',' () fe; ',.' ; ,-i ,
.;~,'~, a:1d ct the traditional pronl:',(,idtiYl of 1.'" ",J','! (:11' .".,,1 1',
3' i l l CH~ :,een, IF/ affects the s,ll hiz,]tic', hr,i,',t" U::,j. ,·!·t"J ' , I ,
I)f':', " t:~f' ,Tost [l"Oilitorcd, lentc t,:,~,()). Lv""" l)." ,1'f;l'Li'l 'I'
Bailey - 7

derived nuclear peak in mayor. As for liquids, the lengthening

rule of Middle Engl ish treated them I ike the obstruents and nasals.

Thus the pronunciations of carriage and error, differing in their

first syllables from car and orr, indicate a different syllabiza­

tion of internuclear liquids before unaccented nuclei from what is

found in the case of the gl ides.

One further general principle ought to be mentioned before

turning to the details of Engl ish syllabization. It may seem

evident from what has been already said about variable syllabiza­

tions, the contrasting assumptions about syllabization required for

earl ier and later phonological rules of Engl ish, the different

pronunciations of at~all and a-tall, and also the pecul iarities of

(e.g. Hawaiian) creol ized pronunciations of Engl ish that are discussed
later, that there are no fixed universal principles of syllabization.
This also seems evident from differences among languages, which are
reflected, e.g., in preferences for apocope over I iaison or vice­
versa. What has been said should be qualified, however, by the
consideration that there may be principles of syl labization which
are universal but are related to and dependent on the accentual and
rhythmic principles of pronunciations with which they are associated
in given instances. Even granting this relativity of universal
principles of syllabization to variable factors of rhythm, tempo,
and the like, it wil I stil I have to be determined whether such
principles are compatible with the resyllabizations in English and
other languages which are described below after the discussion of
the four principles of Engl ish syllabization. At any rate, there
can be no doubt that any such universal principles have to be
gradient, i.e. more or less applicable under conditions in which
more or less of other factors are involved. These other factors
are mainly differences in the degree of self-monitoring of a speaker
or speakers -- reflected as tempo and styl istic differences which
are amenable to a gradient framework such as presupposed in Bai ley

In looking for principles of Engl ish syllabization, it wil I

often be profitable to apply evidence from the incontrovertible
syllabization of monosyllabic words (where consonants are demons­
trably syllable-initial or syllable-final) to more complex and
controvertible instances of non-nuclear segments within words.
This evidence is especially trust\..;orthy. (But \t/hile it is eminently
reasonable to assume that word-initial phenomena can be syllable­
initial and that word-final phenomena can be syllable-final, it will
be seen that some syllable-final consonantal clusters cannot occur
word-finally in Engl ish.) Since word-initial heavy (underlying
voiceless) occlusives are aspirated in Engl ish, aspirated internal
consonants may rightly be assumed to be syllable-initial. Where
at all is pronounced with [~h]~ the stop is syllable-initial; where
lIt/I is pronounced as [d] in this phrase, it is syllable-final.
8 ., I),., i 1t; y

~ f i n sur-Ie tefnpos .:.:in;:dj·[fJ or Ji 1~1 " \'i­ _~;~tl;~>~l[L_' c.:. J 1.

varieties of f·,] ','iith differinq C;",',Hi(J'l!" the eli't, {,hv:,c It:rl()tri

a \j r e e <, v.. i t h t h (~ 1en 9 tho f [ r ] ,J t the bEg i r, r i n i; L: nco f ,!,) r d

i 5 taL ere 9 ell cll' d ass y 1 1a b 1e - i II i t i a I (l r s y I 10 t, 1c" f ; n a 1 i.l Ccor (j ; n:, I

It is kno.1n that" given r,:"n-l'u~'l(,dr nas ...J! is (Ur.ci0'I' fixed COIlC1j­
t i () r, " ) 1',m 9 c r ,'1 t h,- l; "', () i;, n i [HI C f a v I() r d t t r ~ f t · I: d : ,T i1 r, i r,:t ,-,
[ L q] i :-; h , I f : I', ci 'I j .' <.;; 'I t c:: I pet h c: r' d .; a I" ,11 i Li I : I ' , ! r , I '.
'. "'" ,
thdll If; I"";.f·;l·!,~~t ,1[li~;nOlr:l?r, nL;~"!::'_~· :.·L:~;], drjd '.~. __ 1 I'e

justifier! i:1ferring that they dlt.: tauto,,,yllabk

if! i l ' lh(' rdco'
cedinq fricatives in the first gr,-jUp, cut not ir, ti" ,~iiJ.
(Note add it ionJ Ill' that II ~,mll becOll'L [,'1',] ;Iher.:. / / '.;":: (,)1
i ntl'rven(!; cf. ':l,,::,"]cdic I,d th Sp,J:,:[ c.)

H,ert; appear to be three sitU,JtirYi;. atlril:ut;d)i t, :;1,',

tell,pus that can be di5tinglljsh('(~ ir; de\clopi'" d ri :;>1,: "f ",,/1;
biz~tion for consonants standing before nu lL i ~~I ~ ar~
accepted thi:lll the nuclei preceding thel~'. In vcr ;',.,::,:] \/Cc.
monitored utterances, ,'Ie find a syllabic beJund3r 'prt'lvI'n1q<)

bet,v(;cn [~,] and a following aspirated [",h ~h t": 1, in d"IGr"'-'J.3,

l:ist.o!'.ic, huster.ical, e:.:::tablish, d t'='l':' ty, r'-"'J~'i::,·. ':c,,'ijL'''', c" cl
;'/u:consirl. No 1;// stands betloJeen [ 1 af'd the fcll'Ji'ii19 occllJ'oi.t,
j ••, ttl€;Se el<anlples. What is true her.:- is prt:';u:~at,l·,. .:)1 tru(- ( , r
other' consonants with regard to I..hich the cvid,,;n,t" f dsr ired i(:1
is i,.relevant; but see on //tr fr/I, etc., b(1)\!. In a 'nor,:
nor;'ll<'ll, allegro !:cmpo the sylJabiza::iDn is d'S;J,l~Li;;, !,ol,c:tvz;c.
'.:,t(:3r call ·~:'.'-:tdrl_ish, aulsterl'r~,1, r~)lstf.:'rity. 8~,d l\'i Isc'~;ll:~in,
but since English words de not bcgi'l ~Iith [~~S] clusr r,~, ':';;";"
"'Iotdd be possible only in very rap;,,! tc:npos. Mo!'!".''''':. ,<, ~:,"lfL;,
Yi()llld have the Jess monitored syllat,izdtion fJ)ore ci'lt,', 1:1 tht PC'«(:l
of ;) rcrc..on I i vi '19 ,,"n a '..Ji SCG"'::) i (I {Wende 0,' v,or~ j !'lG r,:-r th ',1; '.eel' ,I ["
tate QOVernrlcnt th~n for r'1051. other persons. Finall" it .. i l l
r t;; u ire a f d S t (; r t e ',pu t u s yl I a b If y ': I ,"':.."' • ." La".:' : ' : ' " , ~:. tt1 U, PI.! ":
to fsy!!abify io'·:;trot/, tj.i'.t..wturh, ,-"~nd !nf',~':l':J;' tr';t: ')If,L:: I~.,;·'(
dr)(J ":~y~;A ..... ~-;O;:t:1 ~ n i nterna 1 ,,·.~,·:-t bounda"-; \ . ...; Tli:. -,\. tAt-'Lt. j
t' C-' .)" tr '~yllabic bound':H unti 1 tlwy dl ,,',:L ';hi\.~· ,'<'(,,1'
(,nl, in (':~::t..:; I.:,.:.'id tcrpos.J: E"id"c. t!-<Cll / ,rill'., I,

,J'~-"'IJI1.b, ()!ld."!1 t,-'l).;.J",' (i...;hicn undoubt'~I.~i\;-, once ,,:,\", t.~)i;,~>:! /;~./) Cor
:) ;.; j . ./;,;,,~. q •

This evidc:!cc_ Cortes froili 1(:~ [S

,t . p r",' \/ i d.;l ~i t t..;"-, ~. '" l 1:: L, i (.
,/ In ,',(jSl consona:'tal envi'" " C ': •
C;tJe-:.1.: : on i <; r' J t ~0 I 1m'/e d b'/ /;1/; C, ['; ] ( f / ;'~, ,.I': I:' :.'a!:; Ii:.' t
, c T
I' ".1.. ] ( ~j ~ 1 qr0 [" r, =' T - ]) L:-' t·" a " \, ! ,~ Li L,11 ..

by 1';/ !f~ C;,.":J, ~i [' ':'lybI 1 in su::: f .... i •. : ! c s u fEr; (OJ 1 ~ ; (' ':

!. c.~ '. f', ,'l',d U ,',1 .... , II';! ;,. t..

r ,
,, '

Ba i ley - 9

same lects show unaccented [a] in the first syllables of mistake,

disturb, and destroy in comparable tempos. The unaspirated [+]

in these words proves that the segment is not syllable-initial, i.e.

the syllabic boundary precedes [s].

Since 1#1 drops out in rapid tempos, syllabizations I ike mi'strust

do not invalidate the general ization that syllabic boundaries coincide
with 1#1 boundaries, at least for the principle governing syllabiza­
tion before nuclei which are more heavily accented than the nucleus
preceding the consonants involved.

Before stating the principle, it is necessary to point out

that geminate or phonologically doubled (but phonetically long)

consonants always overlap syllabic boundaries in Engl ish (e.g. mean~

ness, il~legal, book~case), with the sale exception of geminates

in some lects before inflectional ~ z~ -- e.g. facts ['f~kks]

[['hk:s]], lifts ['Irafts] [['Iraf:s]] (see Bailey MS: chap. 4).

In other words, phonetic geminates are treated 1 ike two separate

consonants. Normally, clusters of two sonorants take the syllabic

boundary between them, with the exception of morpheme-initial l'rw hy/.

However, in principle Ib postconsonantal Iyl has an individual treat­

ment (see especially Ily!).

The first or (a) part of the first principle of Engl ish syllabiza­
tion can be stated as follows, in view of evidence already cited and
to be cited: 13

la) Provided that clusters which are not permitted

word-initially are excluded,14 more consonants

are grouped with a following more-heavily

accented nucleus than with a preceding less­

heavily accented nucleus as the tempo increases

and the pronunciation is less monitored; but 1#1

requires the syllabic boundary to coincide with


Normally, at least the consonant i~~ediately preceding a more heavily

accented nucleus is syllabified with it; usually clusters of stops
plus I iquids or gl ides (except lit! c ill) a;-e treated the same ,oJay,
as in con'trol, com'plain, e'quation, and lln'guist:c (ltJhere [')]
before [~] is a problem, as noted later; ,ling'uistic It/auld be very
monitored, while lin'guistic \vould rarely be heard Itlith [n] (for
[~]) and only in the most rapid pronunciation).

Principle la is confirmed with a test available in the outputs

of ITI in lects where different outputs are heard before 12/. as in
sigh and buy, and before II kll (not preceded by 1::1). as in psych
and bike (more detai led discussion is found below). Note that ,psy­
'chology and bi#cuspid have initial syllables sounding I ike sigh and
buy in these diagnostic lects; the folloltling [kli] is aspirated and

10 - Ba i 1el

thererore syllable-initial. .fIr., ......

; "" , " , , '',-
'._' h]'
,,; .) [;,] bur
,.... 1'ii:
"- I qI c;
L..L ("'J'
'-" j ~';l
j c.'")

['J] .

Examples of the sylla':,izatiorl of conS0nar1ts r;rec:eded hy ar>

unaccented nucleus and fol !m:t-d by Cl mid-ac Pleu (,ne d(C C'C't1:,Ujc~"
[I ;.,}/~ .. if. (Ii) + t ~~,h, j l J; contcn~~~)}at [. (: r'.r;-J" , ~ 1; ~;! -:~~:'I.:'~;CJ uL' ~ C::itej
[I~·):~,,'.)~,tr;~;t], faster (':-l:r_u,'::"i r . TJ; dt:P"~C!,_'";'trlt~l, 1"'''1(; [
It~H ;~], allegro ('d:.rnan",t r :t] ~on the nasalization (,f [' iii the'
lento pronunciation, see below); turpentine [Ii ?:~;f;,tr, "J.

Principle la and the other principles ir:lply the wlif,<3r'ki"

principle proposed by Stampe (unpuhl ished talk): If a con~un~nl is

not syllabified to the left, then sylli1bif it to the right. n"

m, problem. therefore, is to knovi ,,/hen it is yliabificcJ [0 t~le

left, v/hich Engl ish tends to do morc theW ilan\( ether fdr i 1 i",r l~lf'

guage5. Principle fa means that in normal allegro pronunciatior

a1trccious is so syllabified, but A'tlant c is impossible b~cau5P

[t 1] may not begin a word in Engl ish. Fast ter"po makes a:l ajr ::'(.r,:j

1 ike d name (see above) and misf!Zead have the 5yllabizal i0r: ,_,

There is evidence in fast tempo for mjlsncm'.'r and d,"S'1011'lt II. hi'

fact that [m] after- [5] is devoiced, just as Itlhf'r fillowing tauto"yl

1ab i c [ ) in smell.

Principle Ib wi J I be almost the mirror-image of la, being

cUficerned with the syJ labizatior of consonants preceded by a more
heavily accented nucleus than the ore that rollo\,>;. Vclrious compli­
cations require separating the principles governing the syllabiza­
tion of consonants in tills environment before un9Lcented and befnre
mid-accented nuclei. The influenCe of lit/ is. vastly less before U,­
accented nuclei than anywhere else, in f.Jct, syllabization:, 1ikr,
highPncss and sly#n0ss are restricted to the slowest temposlS and
the most monitored styles and may therefore go unmentiont::d in prin­
~ipl~ Ib and Ic -- which cros~ internal word boundaries in several
instances (mentioned below). Principle Ib deals with the first
consonant i'1 a cluster followed b :In cl."1accented r"J(ie~"" "hil...:: Ie
dCodlc; more particularly with consonants r>recedi 9 ttlat (the s,: 1 iariLe,"
tie,' :.f such ccn',onants may depend on tne f i ni31 CC'f1son,;;nt of th.::
clu' teJ), r:ach of these principles ;r'iJY be eJ')]e to be (;c~t'ral ized
freJ'J the envi ronme'll be.tween d '!lore acce;:tEd ar'd ;1 Ie"" cccnt'cd
nucleus to the erlviionment bet'?Jcen ur>accellted nU,,1 i, :j, "'ill1 be

The riiscv,sior' of principle Ib mdy b'; i",tl,-:;dllccd,:ith u «,r::;i'~ra~

~ion of cap~r, ,u[(!.:lchcr, and maker, 'dl1t:'re U',,, interllLclcar ocelu i':':'
are 'lot nurmclily aspirated, I ike [-',1 in l(;;~lto dCC.:',',. Thi<; cledrl,
'lelke them :,,{llahle-final segfl'ents. Th:s is confj'::icd j,' C,}7, , .,1" 'r'
:::,tJ '"uric ch~wge cf syllable-fii'al internuc.lear II ,II to l',~ .... h,~:!
ht;dr' in at',,::'l (see above) occurs. The e"iciccce rr'f~rlt iC"ii:d dbe,';c
Ba i ley - 11

concerning the distinction in some lects between a less voiced [c]

in the noun 'rebel and a more fully voiced [b] in re'bel leads to
the conclusion that 'reb~el is thus syllabified, since there is no
doubt that [b] in re'bel is syllable-initial.

Contrast with the aspirated [ph] in re'prove and comlpare the

unaspirated [PJ in reprobate and comparable, lento ['khep~reb+J,
allegro ['kheprebt] (see below on the deletion of the nasal). The
aspiration differences here correspond to different syllabizations.

Only in very highly-monitored and artificial pronunciations do

we hear lip t 't</I aspirated and syllabified with the following
nucleus in Cdpur, cater, maker -- and reprobate and comparable. But
such pronunciations have syllable-timed rhythm and therefore little
vowel reduction (cf. Shakesperian recitation). Consequently, one
would not expect the same syl labization here as in normal accent­
timed rhythm, if syllabization is dependent on the kind of rhythm
governing one's pronunciation. It will be found later that this
dependence does in fact exist.

Before presenting all the additional detailed evidence for

principle Ib, it may be first stated and then subsequently tested
by that evidence:

Ib) Internuclear single obstruents and nasals and cluster­

initial consonants are syllabified with a preceding
nucleus if an unaccented one fol lows.

Leaving aside the application of Ib to consonants preceded by un­

accented nuclei, it says the sa~e thinq as la: syllabify consonants
with Illore heavily accented nuclei rather than ItJith less heavily
accented nuclei. Depending on whet~er the consonants in question
precede or follow the more heavily accented nucleus, the preferred
syllabification wi II be rightward or leftward, respectively.

A great deal of evidence {e.g. House and Fairbanks (1953),

Denes (1955), Lisker (1957), Peterson and Lehiste (1960), Bai ley
(1968b)) shows that there is a difference in the duration of nuclei
before heavy and I ight consonants in Engl ish. If such consonants
are at the end of a word, the preceding nuclei are shorter before
heavy (underlying voiceless) obstruents and longer before light
(underlying voiced) consonants under given prosodic conditions.
Moreover, continuant obstruents and released stops reciprocate in
this environment by being longer when heavy and fol lowing shortened
nuclei and by being shorter when I ight and following lengthened
~uclei. None of this variation occurs except where the nucleus and
consonant in question are tautosyllablc. Therefore, when supper and
rubber, surfer and server, liquor andcI]igqc'rare found, as they are,
to have variations in the length of the nucleus and fricative or
released obstruent that completely paral lei what is found in cup and
12 - Ba i ley

Tul),surf and seTW', and lick and ku, it is indisputable that

principle Ib has uppl ied to such internuclear con;onants, (Sec
princir1e II for internuclear gl ides and 1 iquids.)

Simi lar conclusions C,1n be drawn fror:. the evidence in Sledd

(1966). where the light \·owels are retracted before grave C"~'j();,":'.ts
( a pic a 1san dUll P<J I a t a liz E J vel a r s). Wh e nth e n:: t rae t i 0 II i s f (>, 'i ,,'
in rjV(:l' and zl{-per, no less than in live and rip one may therefore
conc I udc -- what makes the changes more natura I, in any ca::e ~
I that riv~'er and zipp-er are syllabified thus. This evidence i~~.
however, less conclusive than that which immediately preceded,
since Sledd also found that the amount of the retraction before
I apicals (especially the 1 iquids) var ied according to whether thE:
fol lowing unaccented nucleus was not fronted or fronted.
Much better evidence is avai lable from the diverse outputs of
ITI and I~I in lects where the outputs are different in these twe
envi,.-onments: (1) Preceding heavy cor.sonants and II gil ("Jhere no
I~/ intervenes, as in ,psy'chology and ,bi 'cuspid; see above):
here standard 55 has rae] from IT/. and TW has [,,1] from ITI and
feu] from lui; e.g. life, type, spite, 1.ike, mouth, and ahout.
(2) Preceding a syl labie boundary or alight non-nuclear segment
other tha" /I g/l or (under certa fn cond i t ions) [0] f rorn II til (for
the possible reorderings, d. Bailey (1973)): here SS has [d] fro!",
1"":'1, and TW has [oe] from /TI and [~:o] from lui; e.g. time, fJine,
drive, ride, rise, loud, down, and z'ouse, as well as ,psy'cho.loqy
and ,bi'cuspid. (Note that pint has the output of te, not that
of ne, since II nil is deleted before tautosylli3bic heavy obstruent::;.
except for many speakers before antevocal ic lit II , a~, in bantilm; see
below.) Since SS has [aeJ in the first syllables of tiqF'r dnd
Chrysler, it is clear that the consonant immediately follovJing tllis
nucleus is tautosyllabic with it. Psychic has the output of pSyCh,
not that of sigh. As for clusters of stops plus 91 ides and liquids,
let us consider the examples nitrogen, eyel c (when the first nuc:e~s
is not [I]). and Michael, where pronounced [, maPl<v"] . Bt)th the [
and the una~pjrdted rt
kJ in these exa:l1ples demuf1strJtc' the tauto­
s'/llabicity of the accented output of ITI with the irlr~ediately 110i
in9 ce',sonant. The first syllables of these words SOUi'd 1 ii;,,' : ] ' ; i i : ,
psyc;h, i1.1d Mike, not like nigh, sj'~'h, and ml'. n'e: el i d::nc.,~ .}f [ " J
in stiflinq and 'licc-ly further confirms prin(;iple Ib, as al".') de
rhe una;:,pirated [i.] in couplet and ap!(--'lJ, the una;o.pi fdted [ ] Ii.
mdtrOlJ, and the unasp j rated [k] in "uck 1 iIlOJ, luc:--a U',"'·', <;;'--);)"[1 ,,: d

7 L;2] •

Pronunciations like ['ae;.:,?v] for I ColIl jhow hOI'; prinClpl8 Ir.'

operctes across IjJl. That [k] is syllable-final ie, dcubl e'/ide"c(:j
by its lack of aspiration. And the syllabic nasal can 8ccur ofter
D ::.~o~} onfy if it is heterosyllabic. Syllabic na als ;:1['(' pcrrnitt d
,, ;~};o!,,'.,·'n [, ,r
""17,.' 'sv-.dt7'l] and " r' ~~-"
M;:~ te)'"
! ,.~
['~:r.,l .• ?,.] ~"lt
,I"""." ,.,,-1 1,':5·,1 t::.!..t

·I'zY~'.t?r,;:l because the underlying liqL:ds orecedir:g //'// haVL L,,','r

Ba i 1ey - 13

nuclearized, which permits [t) to be syllabified with the first

nucleus according to principle lb.

Note that in the prosodic environment under consideration under­

lying sequences of nasals plus heavy obstruents are both syllabified
with the preceding nucleus. The nasal is deleted here, no less than
before tautosyllabic word-final heavy obstruents; cf. pencil with
pence. The unaspirated internuclear stops in simple ['sIp+] and
sinker ['sTka] must be syllable-final.

In one pronunciation of sentence, viz. ['s ?Qs], the presence

of the syllabic nasal after a stop is possible because that stop is

not clustered and can be syllable-final (contrast Lon~don ['landGn],

where [1jI] is impossible).16 The reason that [t] is not clustered

with the preceding II nH is that it has been deleted (see the pre­

ceding paragraph). Note that the nasal is deleted before heavy

obstruents only if the two consonants are tautosyllabic; therefore,

the deletion does not take place in con~tain (where aspirated [th]

has to be syllable-initial): It is difficult to find a convincing

case where this operates across a word boundary (one t-enacious ?).

Another pronunciation of sentence, heard among older Americans

and even young Texans, is ['ssniHs). Here HtH is deleted after
HnH in the prosodic environment we are considering; cf. bantam,
momentous, twenty. Since Hmp nkH are, as already shown, tauto­
syllabic in s.imple and sinker, one \>Jould expect that HntH are
tautosyllabic in bantam, momentous, and twenty,and that HtH-deletion
occurs only where this segment is syllable-final. This is confirmed
by the varying treatment of pinto, Toronto, centaur, etc., where
lento pronunciations have syllable-initial [th], vJhile the normal
allegro pronunciation shows HtH (deleted or) changed to [dl; see
below. Contrast center and mantel, which have undeleted [th] only
in the most monitored style; cf. also the discussion of talented
below. The rule delet ing H t H followi ng H nH operates before an
unaccented vowel in a following word; e.g. wan(t) it.

The pronunciation in children's Engl ish and in some non-standard

varieties of adult Engl ish which has [+] fo'- H bH in Nartha and
panther, [v] for H ,VI in mother, brother, and father, as we II as
changes of pos tnuc Iear II t II to hI or /hI (e. g. turkle for turtle)
and of postnuclear Hpll to Ikl never occur (in the adult lects in
question) at the beginning of a word or before a fully accented
nucleus -- in short, never syllable-initially. Note that panfah
(lipanther") is parallel to simple in respect to the tautosyllabicity
of the nasal and the following heavy obstruent. The present author
and his colleagues have recorded sl ips of the tongue or sloppy
(fatigued) pronunciations like ..; hike for white, ClPClrt. for apart, and
so on. 17 Such changes are not 1 imited to Engl ish. If they occur in
the internuclear environment, the consonant affected has to be
14 - Ba i ley

As ill ready noted in connection with at',t11 ;)nd " / " " , <.yi i j
rin<:lI 111/1 ie, changed in norrrial Af;]crican pronunci;Jtion (oute,ide clf
New England) to [c.J], provided it sL,mds between vOI>;els, The accent,·r!
SS laO] in mighty ['miJ 8 dI] shows that the [j] here is syllable-fina!.
The change of 11:11 to [d] is possible in tarter and portc:T bcc,Jus(;
the apical stop is internuclear as the result of the prior nucleariza
tion or deletion of the preceding underlying 1 iquid. But the chang~
occurs in the speech of some or many speakers even after I,t/ lin
lects where the lateral is not nuclearized after certain heavy back
rounded nuclei), as in voltage, Walter, si1elt(>r, and rr.altcd. That
Iitl is a special sort of cluster is evident not only from this fact,
but also from the fact that ['tlJ occurs after it, as in molt n
[lmoUlt?t;lJ in the relevant lects. The change under scrutiny occurs
across l..Jord boundaries, whether the II til stands after llil (e.C).

stay till, say to) or before 1#1 (e.g. got it).

The problematic evidence of assimilation can now be consider2d_

Aside from the distinction between morphological assimilation (in
forms derived from Latin) and phonological assimilation stressed
above, the main problem lies in the fact that assimilation does not
cross syllabic boundaries in most pronunciations but Jpparently,,'lr
do so in extren~ly rapid pronunciations -- a t Nhich leaves
us I n a quandary as to whether it may be supposed that sorne sort 'If
resyl labizatlon 18 violating principle la occurs in very rapid te~p0s.
This issue will be dealt with subsequently. Here, and in connection
with principle I I I, the discussion will be I imited to evidence where
phonological assimilation does not cross syllabic boundaries in most
t emp05 .

Notc the change of II nv ~gll to [rl)v rjg] in the envi ronrnCI't

c.overed by principle Ib in conversC:ition and congress (contrast the
lack of the assimilation in converse and conqressional) , as VIC! I 0
across IPI in im }):}:ween. (The i:bpirated [D"] in ,:oneJre i'1dirc~tlv
indicates that [;] in converse and [9] in conGTos:;:OtLi.l are s!lla~'k-
initial.) Since in penguin (lento ['(.".::n~gwlr:], Allegro ['~v~~..r·r
the first nasal is not followed by a_heavy obstruent, i: i.:: of cqurs2
not deleted. But in banquet SS ['t;a:I~>-"iI'] and '/an>;~;h S5 ['<.£,L~ . I'·
the (Ctlditions are right for deleting I'J/. (That it i /::1, rather
than II nil, that has been deleted is evident frorr th(; SS cl--';:H'~lC cf i i /
to laI I, wh i ch occurs before IfJ, but not oefore I /. Sec d 1<- Y.
and angor below.)

While there is no direct evidence for the syl labizatior of ;ntcr­

nuclear nasals in the prosodic environ~cnt preceding an unaccenteD
nucleus, as in minor or timer, these are presu::,ably ;yllabificci
according to the formulation of principle lb.

In lento tenpo, multipl has r~:], whi Ie [J>ltlq_'.l! he! r J, :::,.,r'

that these seg~ents standing between unaccented nuclei arc ~yl :~~I~'
;n:tial and syllable-final, respectively. The evicience f;:, .

. _ _ _-_ .... - - - ­

Ba i 1ey - 15

then, supports the appl ication of principle Ib to the syllabization

of consonants between unaccented nuclei, whi Ie the evidence of
multiple seems (see below) to violate principle Ib, though only in
lento tempo. The application of principle Ib to consonants between
unaccented nuclei is also violated by the fact that in the speech
of most Engl ish-speakers -- but perhaps not all -- syllabic nasals
may not follow stops preceded by an unaccented vowel. This suggests
that such stops are syllabified with the following lan/. The writer
has found many speakers who can have [~] in bull(e)tin, pur(i)tan,
and skel(e)ton if the parenthesized nucleus is deleted in rapid
tempo, which means that II til is syllabified with the preceding
heavily accented nucleus; on the other hand, no speakers have been
found who have [~] in res(i)dent or comp(e)tent when the parenthe­
sized nuclei are deleted, for even then Idl and It I (following Ip/)
have to be syllabified with the fol lowing nucleus. However, the
facts are not clear enough to be sure that no speakers permit [Q]
after a weakly accented (unaccented) nucleus. In fact, some seem to
do just that, especially in rapid tempos, in which event this phe­
nomenon forms no counterevidence to the application of principle Ib
to consonants between unaccented nuclei. Most of the other evidence
supports the appl ication of Ib to consonants between unaccented nuclei.

The first item of such evidence is the change of II til to [d]

(or pErhaps a tap) between unaccented nuclei, just as in other

environments that principle Ib appl ies to. Examples are heard in

formative, lucrative, ability, Rafferty ['r-iffadI 'ra::fG"di], simpleton

[' 5 1p+dan], patented ['pha?tlild1d], carpenter ['kro,:crpda]. Various

linguists have noticed a difference between the output of II til in

atom and in formative, etc. The present writer, for example, feels
that the output of II til between unaccented nuclei and in talented
(see below) and allegro pinto -- as perhaps also in voltage and
Walter -- is more I ikely to qual ify as a tap in his speech than the
[d] in atom.

While the aspiration test shov's syllable-initial [kh prJ in

the lento pronunciations of moniker and mUltiple ['''1.\+:daph+], it
is syllable-final [0] and [k] without aspiration that are heard in
the allegro pronunciations. This difference could be resolved by
two different orderings of prin~iple Ib (which specifies the syllabi­
zation of postnuclear consonants) and of Ic (which specifies the
syllabization of prenuclear consonants before una~cented nuclei; see
below) in different tempos. In lento tempo, with Ib before Ic, Ic
would apply to syllabify a single obstruent between unaccented nuclei
with the following one. In allegro tempo, with Ic before Ib, Ib '.vould
syllabify the obstruent with the preceding nucleus. The allegro
ordering is presumably the unmarked one.

Let us now examine consonant~ ;n clusters -- other than the first

such clustered consonant -- in environments preceding unaccented
nuclei -- the domain of principle Ic.
16 - Bailey

The aspiration test shows aspirated syllable-initial stops

before the unaccented nuclei in the lento pronunciations of active,
peptic, whisper, muster, elastic, Alaska, and whiskey; but in
normal allegro tempo, those stops are unaspirated and syllable­
final, i.e. the syllabic boundary follows them. This situation is
the mirror-image of principle la. There is no direct evidence for
the syllabization of the sonorants preceding the unaccented nuclei
in nitroqen, matron, cyclic, lucrative, apron, sequence, and
speculate ['spc:ky+,I[it?]. It may be thought antecedently unlikely
that clusters ending in sonorant consonants could be syllable-final
since English does not permit them at the end of words. Neverthe­
less, it is worth noting several phenomena. First, speakers who
palatal ize apical stops before tautosyllabic II rll in train and
drain seem to do this also in, puntr'l, VC'stT'I, and fact-,Ir
Secondly, the palatalizations in culture [lr~hI\t: Y';;}J, verdure
['v3:d Za], and tenure ['thc,ra] imply the tautosyllabicity of
Ity dy ny/. Note that Id¥ ny syl are palatal ized only if tautosyl­
labic -- in allegro ['gIdZ,Ia:]. but not in lento Good,year; in
senior, but not in Spanada [.spen'\r:.:da]; in the noun associate ar>u
the allegro verb associate [a'sou~,lit], but not always in the lentc
verb associ ,ate; in menu ['me,re] when the final nucleus is unaccente
but not in men,u ['m~nly~uJ (cf. sinew).

A 1 ike tautosyllabicity of all gl ides with a preceding consonan

when the following nucleus is unaccented seems corroborated by gl ide
deletion in this environment; e.g. Dur(h)am (contrast Birminq,h3.m) ,
ve(h)icle (contrast ve'hicular) , phil(h)armonic (where the second
nucleus is unaccented; contrast phil ,harmonic) , shcp(h)erd, fore (hk,
'11, (= will), 'd (= WOUld), Green (w)ich. to(w)ard. qun(wha)le.
penins(y)ula, cons(y)ulate, ins(y)ulate, carb(y)urctor, cord(l.j)u!'o:;,
Mich(y)ael -- in semistandard poP(y)ular, merc(y)ury, man(,})ufacturr
calc(y)ulate, dep(y)uty -- and in nonstandard Ed(w)arri, awk(ltl)ad,
back(w)ards, 'as (= was), som(ewh)at, and lJan(i)el. (tJote also the
absence of Iyl before Iii in folia'./C, marri;]qu, etc. if' standard
pronunciation. in the British pronunciation of figuro, and in critt '1
creature. )

Evidence from diverse phonetic outputs of underlying 11!j11 and

of 1,1 in certain lects may now be invoked. In lects in I"Jhich Iiti/
is diphthongized word-initially and after syllable-initial 1111/ in
lute. but not after clustered 11,11 in flute. affluent is ['cri!y',:),;
(when the second syllable is unaccented; see below for 'a,fflu()~t).
This precludes placing the syl labie boundary before [f]; it may prec(
or follow [11. so far as this evidence indicates. The tTl test sho\~o
that in lent/) tempo ninety S5 ['naand has had 11,..,-11 tautosyllabic
with the first nucleus at some stage, for the nucleus is the one hear
in pint. not the one heard in pine. For the reorderinSI of the phc",(,­
logical rules that produce [',anI] in allegro tempo, c~. Bailey (l('~'~

Both the output of ITI and the deletion of II -II in ninet:! inriic
the tautosyllabicity of n~tn with the preceding nucleus in this pro
Ba i ley - 17

environment. (Rarely is ap,point'ee so syllabified, in which case

II til is dropped. Usually [th] is heard: ap,poin'tec',) The dele­
tion of the nasal and the aspiration test confirm that the syllabic
boundary has to follow clusters of nasals plus heavy stops in central,
amply, pantry, tantrum -- as it presumably also does in commencement,
densely, etc. The assimilation of II nil to 1f)1 (proved by the nuclear
change, even though 1f)1 is deleted) in banquet and vanquish prove
that the syllabic boundary follows the velar stop. Whether it pre­
cedes or follows II wll doubt lets depends on the tempo. The same
comment appl ies to [5] in brinksman. The change of ~p~ to If I in
some lects in panther shows that II ntll are tautosyllabic wi th the
preceding nasal, and the same is doubtless true of all nasal-plus­
obstruent clusters where the obstruent is a heavy one.

As for biconsonantal clusters beginning with a nasal which are

both preceded and followed by unaccented nuclei, see the discussion

of talented below.

While the assimilation of II nil to 1f)1 in angle ['a::1f)g+] and

anger [1~If)ga] and to Iml in conversation -- also in more complex
clusterings in congress, angler, angry -- indicates that II gil and
I/vll are syllabified with the preceding nasal and accented nucleus
when they are followed by an unaccented nucleus, the fact that [Q]
is excluded in London indicates that [d] is tautosyllabic with the
following nucleus and that the syllabization is Lon-don. Possibly
~ ndll clusters are different from other clusters of nasals plus
obstruents; see the syllabization, laun-dry, below. But note
im#b-etween; this, however, is an allegro syl labization, where one
might expect Ilmbi/ to be syllabified with a preceding fully accented
nucleus. Penguin, with and without the assimilation of II nil to If)/
in allegro and lento tempos, respectively, shows that in the cluster
/Ingwll the post-nasal I/gll has variable syllabization. But lingual
apparently never has [n]; cf. lin'guistic above. It may be that
all clusters of internuclear nasals plus J ight obstruents fol lowed
by unaccented vowels are usually divided in the middle (cf. Lon~don).
and that some words contain lexical II f)11. It is most I ikely that
the spell ing influences [f)-g] pronunciations.

There would be only a smal I problem \vith postulating syllable­

final [mb f)cd clusters, although these cannot be ItJOrd-final; cf.
bombardier with bom(b) and younger with Ijoun(g). It has already
been seen that sonorant-final clusters can be tautosyllabic with a
preceding accented nucleus when followed by an unaccented nucleus,
even though such clusters are not permitted word-finally in English;
cf. /Ifr fl pr 51 sn 5m/1 in Africa, baffler, Mithra, nicely,
ches(t)nut, lis(t)ner, policeman. I~ addition to what has already
been said, several other considerations are in order. First, word­
initial clusters not permitted in lento tempos are permitted in very
rapid tempos (cf. nn. 14 and 23). Secondly, while this seems less
true of word-final clusters in Engl ish, this may be because no vowel
18 - Ba i 1ey

follows them. After all, English vlOrds n,ay not end with [rj] (or Ll
tap) from II til • even if a vowel precedes, unless a vowel also
follows in the next word; e.g . .3t li all. (It should be noted that
the clusters that may precede an unaccented nucleus need not be as
extensive as those that may begin a word, though they may be, so
far as is known. The test using word-initial and word-final
clusters in determining Engl ish syllabization is most relevant. for
reasons to be seen later, to the environments immediately precedi19
and following accented syllables, respectively. The test is less
conclusive for consonants between unaccented nuclei.) But the main
point is that, if the evidence from phonological developments known
or strongly suspected to be correlated with syllabization indicates
a word-internal syl labization that posits a cluster which cannot

be found at the beginning or end of a word (as the case may be),

then that evidence must be allowed to overrule the evidence from

word-initial and word-final clustering. For we are not obI iged

to say that internal clusterings have to be identical with those

at the beginnings and ends of words, even in a given tempo. There

are probably neurological reasons for this difference, but the

present writer is not competent even to speculate on these.

The cluster Ilyl is differently syllabified in the Southern

and Northern States pronunciations of value and tillion: SS
['vre-(I)ye 'br-(I)yanJ (the lateral is left out in normal allegro
tempo). NS [Iv~t:-ye 'bf+:-yan], where the syllable-final lateral
has become a diphthongal satel I ite. The NS syllabization is the
normal one. The SS syllabization is quite anomalous, and might be
attributed to the fact that the lateral is usually omitted. Princip
I fa below shows that internuclear Ivl goes with a following nucleus.
The anomaly resolves itself in the ordering of the rules that genera
Ivl from H~H (the unaccented output of which is lye I after most
consonants when 11'011 is in an operl syllable; see above) and from
prevocalic unaccented Iii; see Bailey (1973). Before /J is gPf1erat
III is internuclear and obeys principle Iia below, which causes it t.
have the unmarked syllabization in 'Ir-less" lects. In SS the genera
tion of the 1;1 is not allowed to affect this syJ labization, showing
that the syllabization rule or convention precedes the generation of
Iyl by the rules just mentioned (NS has the other order). and that
the syllabization principle may not be an l'anYI':here" rule, as SCi>!E.:
have maintained (though it does affect epenthetic consonants, Itihich
have to be inserted in the correct syllable). For if the syilabiza­
tion principle could operate anywhere and everywhere. Ilyl would nor
be tautosyllabic, as in SS value and billion (when the lateral has
not been del~ted). The NS ordering has Iyl generated before the
operation of the rule that changes h: H to a nuclear satell ite when
a non-nuclear segment follows. with the result that the lateral has
to be syllabified with the preceding nucleus in NS and presur,,)bly i',
<., Cf. Ilrll in certain (non-Southern-St<ltes) pror~.r,cic
tions in eruditf [1;~~ye,J.~et], '.lirult'nt [I\'f,:f~ +!;o,.J. querulou
['kt1E,<f~yti0:::L and cherubim ['TS r ,. ,tF'rd.
Ba i 1ey - 19

The syl1abization of H ntH between unaccented nuclei may be

illustr~ted with talented and seventy. Lento ['th&landla] seems

to contrast with allegro ['threl Id]. The last syllabization agrees

with what was learned above about bantam, mantel, and momentous,

though the rule that operates is not the one deleting II til, as with

those words, but the one that changes syllable-final lit/I to [d].

(This interestingly suggests different rule-orderings for the two

prosodic environments, at least in allegro tempo.) The (d] of tap

in the lento pronunciation of talented, in which II nil is not deleted,

would seem to be syllable initial. This leads to a contradiction,

since syllable-initial II til does not change to [d], whi Ie II nil would

not remain undeleted if IIUI here were tautosyllabic with it. That

IIUI is not deleted may be due to a constraint on the rule deleting

this segment after II nil which allows it to operate only if the

preceding nucleus is accented and the following nucleus is unaccented.

If the segment in the lento pronunciation is really (r] (not (d]),

this may resolve the dilemma; it must be tentatively concluded that

the a II egro syll ab i zat ion i s tal(>nt~ed, wh i I e the J ento one is

talen~ted. See below on coventry.

This conclusion is given added credence by other evidence.

Thus, [f] for II pll in Dorothy must be syllable-final. Note finally,

that in boringest [,bourif)Ist], the qual ity of the vowel preceding

[I)]--[i], not [I]--indicates that [rJ1 is to be syllabified with that

vowel, rather than the vowel following. But [8] would not be expected

to be syllable-initial here in Engl ish in any event. (That we hear

(I)], not [89], here is due to the fol lowing lEI, rather than to any­

Ie thing connected with syllabizatior.)

te In a cluster of more than two consonants beginning with a nasal,

that nasal is deleted before a heavy obstruent if it is tautosyllabic,
leaving a shorter cluster; e.g. allegro hamster ['~~cs-tha] (or even
very rapid [thiEPSt~3]; see below, It/here lento [I~a:f"~sta] is also
poss i b Ie. )

The principal evidence for the syl labization of CCC clusters

before unaccented nuclei involves clusters where the middle consonant
is lit/lor where the first two consonants are 1110.11 and Ilnd/l.
(Where/#I exists, it determines the syllabization only if an
accented nucleus follows. 19 Otherwise, its effects are insignificant.)
Let us examine triconsonantal clusters in which the first two consonants
are Ct, ld, nd. Two different conditions need to be distinguished:
(I) where the last C is an obstruent, nasal, or lateral (note that
[r I tn tm di jn d~] may not begin a word or -- in ordinary tempos -­
a syllable): cos(t)1y, lis(t)1ess, lis(t)ncr, las(t)-minute, lcf(t)
Dclnk, shif( t} less. lef( t}most, ex3.C (t) 1 ;/, "'.J.c;( t) ebaskct, 01 (d) bag,
(;01(d) Coast, 01(d) maid, c01(d)ness, boldl ; sdn(d) baq, wildd) mill,
ldn(d)mine, kin(d)ncss, 1an(d)1ess. blandl~. (2) Wher~ the last
C is 11<111 or II rll: wes(t) wind, trus (t)I<.'orth'J, ieft-,,·inger.
eastward, left,,'ard, Pldge, '/e:;triJ, fclct'ry, h;st'r~" m1jst'r 1j,
tol(d) well (where well is rnid-accented), Caldwell, '7r::1iwir., qo1.(d)
20 - Bailey

1 j(;ht~;, "Fuld-liyJit" (as though a trade nar:e), Mildreci, i.Jand-"'JI!t.l"

siJndwich, land riqflts, and laundry.

Differences among environments in which interconsonantal lit ;/

always, more often than not, seldom, or never -- get deleted pro~ide
evidence for syllabization~ in those e0vironnents.: The I iffiit~d
(but probably rei iable) evidence suggests that the facts are as
follows for many speakers: Deletiol1 occurs (in all but the most
monitored and artificial spelling pronunciations) in CtC, lde, r,-JC
clusters when the last C is an obstruent, lateral, or nasal, regardlcs~
of the degree of accentuation on the following nucleus. This must
be qual ified by a few observations. The deletion is much less likely
where the first two consonants are ft (as in shiftless, lettl->drd)
than where they are kt (as in exactly), doubtless because [tJ is
released by many after [f], but not after [tJ, when Ii:! follows.;;
Although [t] is also unreleased following [sJ when IN follovJ<;, it
is known that [st] constitute a tighter cluster than [r~d or [f(].:'
In blandly, it is probable that II all is deleted and later restored
by epenthesis (see Bailey MS; chap. 4). While the (variable) non­
deletion of Ildll in boldll!, Goldvnfl, etc. is difficult to account
for, there is no doubt that the syllabization (If bot r ],oldllj and
blandly has the syllabic boundary immediately after [·jl, since [di]
cannot begin Engl ish words, as already said. Note also that word
initial Ildwll are less normal in English than word-initial Iltwll,
and that (t] and [c] may end almost any cluster allm'/ed word-finally,
as in the inflections of past verbs in Engl ish. Thel'efore, inter
consonantal lit dll followed by II wll or 11.11 would be antecedent Iy
expected to have ambiguities in their syllabizat ion.

If environments in which intelconsonantal apical stops are

deleted are evidence for the syllable-final status of such segments,
then the syllabic boundary can be placed immediately after them;
elsewhere, it will plel..ede Lllt.!'" wl'L!!"' ui"dccented nu:lei fol1m;. In
the internuclear clusters etC (where the first C is an 0bstruent),
ldC, and ndC, we find NO DELETION of lit ell before Ilr/! plus art
unaccented nucleus (e.g. ancest:C9, L::lUndry); increashg V/\F,IABlE
DELETABIi..ITY (with greater deletabi I ity as the tenpo increases)
before II rll plus an accented nuclec.:s (e.g. Cost ,Li ,gold ,ri
end run ) ~nd before 11,.;/1 plus an accented nucleus (e.g. 'tru[;t:
,worthy); and virtually exceptionless deletion (I'XCCfJt in .)rtificial!y
monitored syllable-timed rhythm) before an obstruent, I iquid, or
nasal (examples in n. 9); the stop need not be word-final, as dele­
tion occurs in exactly. aptly, E;t,~·:'tJ.C,;5, ::,t.'ustly, etc., as noted
above). Clusters of more than three consonants are treated f&irly
simi larly with respect to the penultimate apical stop in the cluster;
but See on extra below. Now where deletion occurs, it is assu~~d
t hat the a pic a 1st 0 pen d s the s y 1 1a b Ie. Thi", i S ['10 r i~ I ike I y i r'
d~'r i ghts. ua st~wa rd, ;;and-w i c: il, a nd tId s t·-c;.;CI tf.' 'j a:, l he t CF';:CU
becomes more rapic, for slower tempos rnoy shm'i undeletLd apieul sto,:::'
(e.g. 0as~tward, san~dr,..' I'/here no liil interfert.:s. Fer'haps aho

Sa i ley - 21

the syJlabizations gol~drights and trus-tworthy occur. (See further

on the clusters Ct,w, Ct,r, ld,w, ld,r, nd,w, and nd,r under Principle
I I I be I ow.)

The aspiration test confirms the syllable-initial status of

[th ph] in vestry, hist'ry, myst'ry, fact'ry, aspirin, etc., in

lento or monitored pronunciation. In rapid tempos unaspirated, and

therefore syllable-final, [t p] are heard in these examples.

We may summarize, first for lento or monitored pronunciations.

The syllabization of the final segments of clusters of three or
four consonants in which the last consonant is a nasal, 1 iquid, or
gl ide (consonants following deleted underlying nasals do not come
into question here, of course) fol lows the fol lowing principles:
The last consonant in the cluster (the final sonorant) is syllabified
with a following unaccented nucleus in lento tempo, as in laundry.
The preceding interconsonantal consonant is syllabified with the final
sonorant in lento tempo when that sonorant is (I) II rll, as in laundry,
(2) II wll preceded by II ngll , as in sanguine, or 0) any sonorant
following a grave (i .e. labial or velar) obstruent, since grave
consonants do not end clusters when they are preceded by an obstruent;
e.g. Cos-grove, God-frey. (It has already been observed that apical
obstruents can usually stand at the end of word-final obstruent
clusters, as in the verb inflections of Engl ish, but may not cluster
with a fol lowing tautosyllabic lateral or nasal.) Turning now to
unmonitored or allegro tempos, we find more complex syllable-final
clusterings than in lento tempo, at least where the interconsonantal
consonant is one that can cluster word-finally with the preceding
consonant and the final consonant of the cluster is a gl ide or
liquid (exclusive of # 1# preceded by an apical stop). From what
has been said, one would syllabify rvemb-ley and ambulate ['a::mb-y+,I; it]
thus in allegro tempo even though [~l] cannot end words in Engl ish.

It is qratifying to observe that even in lento ter:lpo CC-C

syllabization is more usual than C~CC when the preceding nucleus
is more accented than the one that follows. This encourages us to
general ize that consonants following a more heavily accented nucleus
tend to be syllabified with it, just as when they precede a more
heavily accented nucleus they tend to be syllabified with that.
This tendency for a consona~t to be syllabified with the heavier
accented nucleus increases -- i.e. spreads to consonants in the
cluster further removed from the one adjacent to the heavier accented
nucleus -- as the tempo is stepped up. Consequently, the principles
that govern the syl labization of consonants in the environment that
we have been considering (principles Ib,c) form the mirror-image of
principle la. Such a general ization is a more comprehensive one
than the indivijual principles and Itlill form the basis later on for
a revision in our understanding of what unmarked and marked syllabiza­
tion are when the rhythm is accent-timed, rather than syllable timed .

.-~.-- ....~.---.... ­ .... ------------------­


22 - Ba i 1ey

The syllabization phcnornen.J ',:e r<: ur:(evcr;nq her ~'dy ", f ct

be precisely '-'Ihat distinguishes Er-gli '-: accent fro,' ot"er accent

\'Jhose indispensable ingredient al:"L' is ler~9th; e.r;. ItClI i3r:.

The prc-,cl:t ~'Jriter f;r,d les:, ,)Sr,ir~lti r - or' Js;!ir,]tic:n Ic ' ,<:

nftcn - in [. ;i >] dS the third VrSVi,]'i/ ,~, tl:CCi:,;"; re. i

~- -,~"-r ." Ll] irr L"xtru, vxrjd!::;.t;O:!~ . ;(.:·rt..'1Tif·)nt~71 .. ;,x~:) P7J: I" rC:.1~H,,·;r~' It

1y, iiilento to:,PO thar: in Fc'::tru ,y'C':r.;;',iL, c./ n th"lH,~" i r.

,~;ll be seen, precisely because} th.:.: cluster', :lrt' loncc'r iF1C (h('r'"

fore might be expected to favor a CC-CC syl la~ization, 5ur bet

the four-consonnnt and three-corsoncJnt clu ters arC' I,s, l i h l y t:)

h':3Ve aspirated stops in allegro tempo, lndic3ting qreater cldst·,:rirw

with the preceding accented nucleus as the tompo increases, a~

observed before. Even though interccns0n3rtal II -II is not d(':I~re'~

in extra, the foregoing observation means th~t the syl1atiz~tior

('xt~ra is more likely to be correct than Ci<:'-Stld, "lth"uqh toth

"iould account for the lack of an aspirated [,'], .Jnd c!lthouqh tr'c

latter syllabization would better square \,ith the und,..:1cted [+].,..;,

clu5ters of four consonants I ike k. tr f1')uld he i'I(JrC I ikel the!!,

those of three consonants like kst to sylLJt,ify r,c-dial //'11 .lith,J

fJreceding accented nucleus before a follovvinc; un,',(' crded one i

unclear. But note that the previous discussion ";ilabified t.-lO

consonantal clusters (e.g. t~r, rr) differently from such clusters
at the end of triconsonantal clusters. (Note also that in very
fast or sloppy pronunciation the n
~n can be and is deleted in
'/C'str l / . ) There is every likelihood that these differences are dUE'
to the rhythmic differences (see below), and that the larger the
cluster, the I'weightier" it makes the precedin'l syllable, and the
1 ikel ler are consonants to be clusterEcd witn it. /\5 .~; 11 be St'erl
by comparing principle III, the I ikel ihood of con'5unants clust('r'~r1q
with a more heavily accented nucleus is qrcoter a~ the less h~3Vi ly
dcccnted nucleus is weaker; cf. le;,to e,llc"'c";'!L ;·;ith 1L;,lto '_"'(.";}_'

All of this is of course subiect t the rc",ui: t (,ld';:,;~' ,~, nc

such as may stand at the beginning (i r ,cord (i f t a i l : s\'i ia:',1.:
initial) or at the end (if they i:lr';:! syl1,,;clc fin.']l'), '"itr. tl;c ;:1'( I"CI'~
d1ready noted; cf. comments above un ~ln:-I~~~~, rJ9"-:,. r'_·-,n"'.1~r;, ~i\>F):'
dC. The prt?5ent ",riter would syllabify the foJlo,,:i;-)c l'iC'rds in Icnto
tcmr)o (and in dictionary entr;es) tJ';us: i:JCL;~t·,T, ' , ! v t , l ,
k'j'~lets"""'ktj, mons"-"t.rou:;, €:x,-..,.;cul~·atc, .:.!j:;/:_-_-;~~(~:~. i-,[!, :'./) l'u[!'r--] ,·;t\

and um-l:ragc. Note that It I foilov,s s{ll.)l)le- f l" [:] in r , n ' ,

but [-J after [t] is unrelated to ti'c e / : / j , i:'l:'lLi C<.~:. TI>c 5/1 :,,­
t,iz.]tic.ns just proposed agree ':J;th clus',eri ",hid' co be fC1cJr:J dt
the beginnings and ~nd5 of Engl ish "lords, :;j I. kh't:'/C r' , ,)f~ "ut)jc;t
(0 changes in allegro tempo, '-'ihich in dicticndric::;:c<,1 be f,;,:).'i:!':'.i
for by italicizing the consonant<; in c;I.!,.::::.,ti,;'r1. II', ,',!h-:;o tE"'PU
v;lch ,:on':;QP')'lt fcllo'v'iing the s'/ll.Jbic ':;:)',;1;'.1'·: i,) [~"<': ':'»'-r,!:?,:'!1
nivvn VI! 11 vc to the left t,''1e 5/111:,i:, b'.ur ':,' :,i" -:1.;:,'/ ,',
hei'i9 -,yll :)lfic:1 ".itl! the fulll ,Ke.:r" ·'cj·1 ';. Th;·~ tiC,I,lle r,')t

t Sa i ley - 23
1 an English word (and the provisos which except certain instances
of cluster-final sonoranb do not apply here). But it Ifli II be
remembe~ed that in very rapid tempos a final sonorant may be
syllabified with a preceding cluster unless the last sonorant
is a lateral or nasal preceded by an apical stop. Note that
if the next-to-last consonant is a grave obstruent, it Itlould not
in any event be syllabified with a preceding consonant other than
a nasal or lateral ([t] and (CfJ being nuclear segments).

We thus see the variable syJlabization of II ~/I in trickster

and monstrous (triconsonantal and quadriconsonantal clusters)
paralleling the syllabization of Iitl/ in captive, directive,
productive, receptive, yeasty, festive, and cluster (where II til
ends a biconsonantal cluster). These variable syllabizations are
corroborated by the aspiration test. (Even where [[gd]] and [ltd]]
are heard in active and captive, the shortness of the preceding
accented nucleus, together with the fact that Engl ish clusters
normally involve only heavy obstruents, wil I cause the right output
to be heard. ~hese comments apply equally to unaspirated (~t] and
[pt]; here the (t] could theoretically be interpreted either as
syllable-final II til or as syllable-initial II (:11 .)

The variabil ity that has just been noted does not in itself
mean that syllabization principles are "anywhere" rules. This will
be true only if they are universals dependent on other prosodic
phenomena. It will be seen that the man.ner of syllabization changes
after the accent rules operate in their usual place in the ordering
of the phonological rules of Engl ish. "Styl istic" or "sociol inguistic"
RULE FEATURES like (t tempo] (mean i ng that a ru lei s more like I y to
operate as the tempo is faster) characterize some rules, and certainly
principles la and Ic. If the rule deleting IIUI shows little or
no variation in the cluster 1/ ~+rl/ when an unaccented nucleus
follows (as in vestry), this may be due to several factors. One
such factor may be the place of the rule deleting interconsonantal
apical stops, viz. between those rules assuming a syllable-timed
C-C(R) syllabization and those rules presupposing the syllabization
of consonants around a heavier-accented nucleus.

If what has been said about consonants preceded by a fully

accented nucleus and followed by an unaccented one is val id, one
may conclude that similar syllabizations would be expected between
unaccented nuclei: lento mimic-T'j, tl'aves-ty, stJcris-tlJ, tapes-try,
minis-try, artis-try, 'Kerens-ki, Coven-try; allegro mlmicr-y,
tapest-ry, minist-rtj, artist-ry, I Kerensk-i. Covent-Tlj' The lento
syllabizat ions of tapestry, ministTl1, and ZlrtistTiI are the ones
which account for the unaccented penults of these words (see n. 31
and p. 42), These syllabizations are all confirr1ed by the aspiration
test. If palimpsest (when accented on the initial syllable) is
found to have only the lento pronunciatiGn among non-specialists, that
is because its rareness and recherch~ meaning give it a very monitored

24 - Bailey

pronunciation for them. Special ists in paleography doubtless use

the allegro pronunciation oftener. We see ~gain (cf. the discussi
of Wisconsin earl ier) that frequency of usage, as well as rapidit'(
of utterance, influences syllabization.

Principle Ic, concerning the 5yllabization of c<,nsonants otr,=:­

than the first in a cluster standino after a fully accented nucl~u
dnd before an unaccented one, is nOl-j stated thw,:

Ic} (i) The consonant immediately preceding an unaccented

nucleus is syllabified with it in lento tempo, except
in the case of a heavy obstruent preceded by a nasal:
(i i) as the tempo increases, more consonants follow­
ing the first in the cluster are syllabified with it,
i.e., with the preceding nucleus, provided that clusters
not permitted at the end of a word are rot so syllbified
although biconsonantal Ilrrt ng r" !'fll and larger clustc
of obstruents plus gl ides and 1 iquids (other than those
of apical stops plus a lateral or nasal) may be syl­
labified in very rapid tempos with the precedinq
nucleus; and further provided that HrH requires a
faster tempo than 1/ wll to be syllabif ied vJith clustered
II til , with Ildll preceded by a lateral or 11:11, or
with II k pll preceded by II sll. (i i i) A tempo which
is less rapid than otherwise will syllabify clustered
consonants with a preceding nucleus as the cluster is

The preceding formula does not distinguish I/',,}II frorn II nell clust
and to that extent may be not wholly correct (see above). Princ:pl
Ie could be combined with Ib to be the mirror-image of 121 by
additionally requiring in Ie that the first consonant followi~q
a fully accented nucleus be syllAbified with it, This would havc
the disadvantage of precluding the two orderings of Ib and Ie in
moniker and multiple (see abo'/e). /CIS I.'i 11 be seen i 11 C(1nne~:t. iOIl
with principle 'III below, the provision for a fol1o~.';n(' unaccented
nucleus might be general izable to include any fol lowing LESS-HEAVIL
dccl2!l"(ed nue I eus.

Since the very fastest tempos shm'i the crange of 1/ til to [d

and the assimi lation of 11'111 (cf. tdutolnG'i, v!, and 1::"
'guistics, ItJhere Ilgu" = [9\,;]), it r:li9ht;eer that th~ foregoinq
general ization is superseded by an even higher-level principle.
viz. one that maximizes "marked" syliabiz.:ltion. This is not tru ,
as a later discussion of the example,> ju t cited \-;;11 Sil()VI. (;,Ithcli
the definition of what is marked sy: lClbiZJtion \'Ii 11 t,e re·!i'>ed S f , ]
to be dependent on the rhythmic principles or ~ qi~en l~ng~a~", to;
"vould not affect the issue whether the e)(drnplcs juc,r ci~ed hU,-J
that marked syllabization Cdn overrule the otler- :;,-,no;->'-3Iiz,ltip:1 'i'
the most rapid tempos.) As far <3'; t-r-It.: \vriter ~n()',.!,;, rnglis~-
Ba i 1ey - 25

syllabization is totally dependent on accent and rhythD, which

themselves go together.

Until now, the discussion has been mainly concerned with

establ ishing the principles for syllabifying obstruents and nasals
before fully accented nuclei and for syllabifying internuclear
obstruents or consonantal clusters followed by unaccented nuclei.
Principle I I, which concerns single internuclear sonorants, mainly
gl ides and I iquids, may nm. be formulated. (ef. the data in
Bailey (1968a) and also see the discussion of the resyllabization
of sononants later on.) It should be remembered that Engl ish UtJDER­
LYING glides and I iquids are syllabified with a fol lowing unaccented
nucleus, if there is one (but see on 1#1 below); then, IN SOME
VARIETIES of the language, these gl ides and I iquids are geminated,
becoming satell ites of the preceding nuclear peaks. Note the
gemination in NS silly ['5ft: i]. The second point concerns (a)
gl ides generated (as satell ites) from underlying heavy vowels and
(b) syllabic sonorants generated out of sequences of unaccented

vowel plus sonorant consonant. Mouse #mus# provides an example

of (a); the output has [0]: ['maO~ 'm(£0s]. To exernpl i fy (b),

we have [t] from 1011 in lcqal (cr. le'qalitIJ) and [t] from 1;:)11

in du,d ['d'I'lt:] (cf. du,J/itl/). Note the qcmin<ltion of the laterc:d

at the beginning of the next syllabIc in dualist [',j'/'J+ILt].

Where one would expect a geminate 1;1 under similar conditions, it

does not appear, being deleted except in the most drawled enuncia­

tions. Principle I I reads:

I I) (a) Single internuclear gl ides and I iquids are syl­

labified with a following unaccented nucleus and
then -- in IIr-fu I ilL '-I Iects -- are gemi nated to
become satell ites on the preceding nuclear peaks.
In the case of II rll , a following I:JI vii II cause
gemination even in "r-Iess" Engl ish, while a few
border US lects allow INI to affect the treatment
of II III (contrast gClyt:ly with dai+ly; Ferguson
(1971:16, n.8)). (b) Nuclear peaks or satellites
(created out of underlying sonorant consonants or
heavy vowels, respectively) are geminated to
become syllable-initial consonants before the
(unaccented or accented) nuclei that fol low.

Geminate underlying I iquids (necessary for the correct accentuations

of corollarlJ or miscellany, depend ing on whether the lect has one or
two laterals) are treated as ungeminated in principle 1I. Principle
Iia appl ied in "r-Iess" leets to laterals across "'Iord boundaries,
as in tell#it 55 ['+hf-II+]. Some NS speakers distinguish jury from
Jew#Tl/. treating the latter the way "r-less" speakers trcat it, at
least in Jento tempos; cf. Kenyon (1946:231). Notc that principle
Iia could in effect almost be paraphrased to say that underlying
internuclear gl ides and I iquids obey principle Ib in NS, but Ie in 55.
26 - Ba i 1ey

In "r-less" English, parts (b) Clnd (a) of principle II di".tinr

e.g. 55 coyer, lento ['kh::Jea], allegro ['~r::Jeo:], froP' lav:'l('l l"~'­
'IrPya]; mire from Maya ['md~ia]; i'JlJer from b'HiOU ['L3-V;:-'']' In 5S
Fdranoia does not rhyme wi t h lar..'yer, La Jolla, or Montor;:], in cont I~
\,lith the uniform N5 syllabization in all four. Such exarr;ples ,>hCvi
th<lt Iia appl ies to ne\,>,ly borrO\'\Ied \'\Iords fron1 foreign lan9ud91C'~.
Older 55-speakers ::,yllabify lOl/d1. rc,IFl1 (and even emplo,iu) I ike
lawyer, though younger speaker::, syllabify the first tvJ(J items lac
roil. This difference is symptomatic of a difference in underlying
phonological representations, the older speakers have !/r.. ;<v!I. wher
the younger speakers have IIUII (as in voice). The differential
effects of parts (b) and (a) of principle II also distinguish du,,'­
['d'lu+IIstJ (with geminate laterals) from mulish ['m~jU~IIS] in
"r-lessl! 55. In these lects II rll is geminated "hen immediately
followed by llil; cf. Harry ['r,a;-rI] with hairy 55 ["'ii':<J'dJ, l)Or-irl'.:;
(noun or adjective) 5S ['b/)urIn -:rJ ] l'/ith bor#inq (verb) ['ue,drI
and mooring (noun or adjective) ['mt;Url n -i'j] with mooriJHhl (verb)
['mocfrIn -if)] in the Southern States.

The last example shows that evidence from vowel neutral ization
offers evidence for syllabization. lects that neutral ize (do not
keep distinct) vowels before It :::1"1 make the vOYJels in the accented
syllables of serious and period sound I ike that in rit and merge
the words Mary, marry, and merTlI -- and even MUlT:J/. 'j Parallel
neutral izations are found in some forms of N5 in the accented nucle~
of forest and trolley -- I ike war and ball, r<lther than far and doll
and even in sailing and selling, (See Bailey (1973).)

Having disposed of the syl labization of consonants before fully

accented and unaccented nuclei, it is time nm.; to turn to the r.latter
of the syllabization of consonants before mid-accented nuclei, where
tempo variations are even more noticeable than before unaccented
nuclei. The discussion will deal with single obstruents and nasals
first, and then treat clusters fol lowed by a mid-acce~tcd nucleus;
finally, single internuclear gl ides and I iquids in this environment
yJi II be treated.

Turning to the evidence for consonants standing b2twe~n fully

accented and mid-accented 2E, nuclei, let us exarli'1(' ir'ter~nucle;Jr heei'!
obstruents. Plato and motto have [1::0 pr-onunciatiol'l':i, a lento ont
with syllable-initial [th], and the ordinary ..:;lleg!o orle,,,ith
syllable-final [d] from II til . Pinto, To[()nto, .1ulto, and c'..::nt:.i r
have syllable-initial [th] in lenlO tei1ipO, but {deleted II til or]
[d] 01- a tap in allegro tempo. (Cf. tdlcnted.) TCT!1r.·o has a true
[m] and syllable-initial [ph] in lento tempo, but a deleted Ilr)/ ar;(
syllable-final [D] in allegro tempo.

ThE: OU(put of ITI in diagnostic leet::. is;yllacle-findl [_]

before /1 k I,JII , for example, ;n lcnto tempo whc" / l is pre ent, ;;1"
in bi#Cf~is and biAci/cle (the /;:/ i:; delr.:ted in I'upiu tenC;()::. ;!nd the'i
Ba i 1ey - 27

bicycle sounds 1 ike icicle, with initial [a 8 ] ) . It would have to

'I ish, be a ~ery monitored tempo for [a] to appear in hypo, psycho, ikon,
and crises, at least in standard pronunciation; no 1#1 occurs in
these words. Usually, [a e ] is heard and indicates the syllabiza­
ast tions hyp,o, psychlo, and cris,es (I ike crisis).

Somewhat comparable to the preceding is the change of lal to

[~1] before tautosyllabic ~ s~ (and other consonants) among many

speakers of Southern States Eng I ish: lasso is norma II y [I Ia;1 5 I ] ,

not [I l<il, sou], for such speakers.

When we consider clusters of stops plus 1 iquids or gl ides which

.' ,. t
may occur word-initially, if no Iffl is present we hear syllable final

[a] in cylclone, mi,crobe, niltrate in moderate slow tempos, while

allegro tempos have [ae], from which are inferred the syllabizations,

c1jc,lone, mic,robe, nit,rate, (contrast night#rate, with unreleased

[t]). These syl labizations are all confirmed by the aspiration test,

as is allegro eq,uate. The output of ~~~ in the relevant lects

confirms the syllabization 'aff,luent, in pronunciations where the

second syllable is mid-accented. No doubt Pem,broke and Man ,drake,

and probably Win,slow, are so accented in lento tempos; allegro

syllabizations are Pemb,roke, Mand,rake, and fvins,lov.', agreeing with

principle Ie. (Note allegro Wins,low ['wits,lo'J].)

In general, then, the allegro syl labizations agree with principles

Ilb,c, except where Inl is present. This boundary has more influence
on the syllabization of consonants before mid-accented than before
unaccented nuclei: life,like, strife,ridden, ice,locker, ice,man,
place,mat, and pace,maker. In the last three examples, the [m] is
not so devoiced as in smoke. A 1#1 may be deleted in very rapid
tempos; cf. (;ood#year \·dth very rapid ['CJfcZ,fa:] and the tetra­
syllabic lento verb associ,Clte ..lith very rapid trisyllabic [alsous, 1+]
(1 ike the noun [a' sousIt], where the last syllable is unaccented), as
well as lento menu ['mF.n,ytt U ] with allegro ['m'fl·''] (,,,here the final
syllable is unaccented). As if" principle Ie, clusters like IIp+ f<.: fll
have variable syllabization, the second consonant going with the fol low­
ing mid-accented nucleus in lento tempo but with the preceding fully
accented nucleus in allegro tempo, as in peptone, excise, and fiasco.
It is the same with the more complex clusters in frustrate, entrails,
Castro, Expo, expert, Oxmoor, Oxnard, extract {noun}, exquisite, exploit
(noun), transport, and transplant. In short, lento tempo permits
syl labization of more consonants with a fol lowing mid-accented nucleus,
while allegro tempo permits as many consonants as are permitted word­
finally to be syllabified with a preceding fully accented nucleus
(with the provisos discussed above).

The evidence from nasal assimilation confirms what has just been
said. The lento syllabization of mongoose, mangrow:-, ,oni:qoir:g,
and in#qrown show [G,g], while the allegro syl labizations -- the tempo
has to be more rapid when I~I is present than when it is absent -­
28 - Ba i ley

show [rJCJI]' That IrJl is constant in Fr:mc'J (a~, indicated by the \/0
change in SS ['frii:lk,oU]) is perhalls due to a phonological repreSt'n
tion with INI, viz. Franc#a. However, the writer has noticed that
what have been called lento treatments above are rare in foreign wo
like Congo (see also Klimeko, Nankh1g belmv, and Bf'nga.l, Ranqonr:
subsequently). The reason for this are not clear. Betor.;; /1 a
preceding II nil is deleted with accompanying nasal izatio'l of the
preceding vowel in allesro tempo, which h evidence that the tVIO
con son ant s are tau to s YI Jab ic. j n a I leg rot C 1'1 po - - \'1 fl i chi 5 a Iso
confirmed by the unaspirated [k]: H:mcock, Dunkirk, ,",'D.nking, ]"lnca.
(when the second syllable is mid-accented). Cronk~t0, Klim~nko, tru.
bronco, condord; Bancroft, Banquo, concrt;>te; un#couth,inficor".,. tCiX.
In lento tempos one hears [n,kh] here. For some speakers the alleql
treatment may be more usual \-,rhen the spell jng is link" than wher, it
is line." With the foregoing is to be compared the assimilation of
# n# to Iml in rainbow and henpecked in rapid pronunciation.
Leaving aside internuclear glides and liquids, it would be pos::
to avoid for'mulating a specific principle III, statin~l insteiJd a r:1et
principle that between a preceding fully accented nucleus and a fol­
lowing mid-accented one principle la,b is ordered before Ic in alles
tempo, while the opposite ordering prevails in lentc tempo. This we
require rewording principles Ib,c to apply before (equally or) less
heavily accented nuclei, instead of sir1ply before unaccented ones;
and an additional proviso would have to stipulate that Ii:I affects t
syllabization when the next nucleus is mid-accented. The larger
generalization, as already observed, is that consonants tend to clus
with more heavily accented nuclei than .,.Jith less heavily accented en
and more consonants do this as the tempo increases. It is clear tha
mid-accented syllables are treated iTlore like unaccented syllables in
allegro pronunciation and more like fully accented syllahles in lent,
When single underlying gl ides or ! iquids precede mid-accented
nuclei and are preceded by fully accented nuclei. principle Iia appl
but after heavy nuclei other than 1-:::'/ !lI-ful " SS does not treat II rll
differently from the "r-Iess" 5S treatment; e.g, r,t''''C' ["'! , r ].
However, "r-ful" NS and ("r-less") BRP haVe gemlndtion after all hea
nuclei; e.g. ['hfCl",rolJ). After "r-ful" 55 has gerlination, a I,',
chlQrj~0 and Clorox; after other heavy nuclei, as just said, genina­
t ion is absent: ze I ro, Ne I ro, Xt:: I P)X. p};~l I LF; '1, Ca I"', +- i , r,'.
I'1j.rex, rru,ro, bu,reau. All lects in the Sc'uthern Stales syllabify
Je,llo, ka,yak. bouillon ['Lt!l1 ly L""] thus. But if jffl follm·Js the
I iquid or gl ide and a mid-accented Ilucleus follovis th.Jl, the I i·..Juid
or glide is syllabified with a ~receding fully accented nucleus, as
in mail,order. Cornpare also tell,';ou (with lTid"accented :Iou) ond
te'-llljou (where you is unaccented), The tr.3nscrif)tioll of /ifro d
few I ines above shows that neutral ization of the nucleus preceding
/' r /, occurs ""here geminat:on of the latter hLls occu .. red.

~Jjth the exception of the special treatl',cr:1 c·f iritt'rnllclea r' / / "',
viC find the same lectal division her~' as ;,r,t'f, eli' .'i<hCcliteG ilCJl.I"ll':

Ba i ley - 29

follows: "N-Iess ll lects generally prefer la (where Iftl, however,

has some,weight) or Ic, while Ilr-ful l ' lects and others 1 ike them

generally prefer Ib (where 1#1 has virtually no influence). This

could also be reduced to an ordering metaprinciple, but the

different orderings would depend on lectal differences, rather than

tempo differences.

Principle Ib appl ies also before mid-accented nuclei.

The final principle is less simple than it may seem at first


IV) Between any nuclear segment and a following

nuclear peak there exists a syllabic boundary.

The matter is straightforward enough when there is 1#/ present, as

e in pray#er (lone who praysl), pay#er, stay#cr, lay#er; contrast

prayer, pair/pare, stare, lair. The /#1 drops out in rapid pronun­

ciation. In normal tempo, the second unaccented nucleus of fluid,

poet (cf. fluidity, poetic) becomes a nuclear satel I ite of the pre­

ceding accented vowel (d. Bailey (1973», in It,hich event there is

no syllabic boundary between the two nuclear elements. When these

words have drawled dissylabic pronunciations, [w] automatically

intervenes and is syllabified according to principle lib, being

a geminate consonant. Cf. fuel, allegro [Ifyu t :], lento [lfuuV/+].

The presence or absence of [w] also tells the analyst whether

tower, towel, truer, fewer are dissyllabic or whether they are

monosyllabic (I ike sour, cowl, poor, and cure). And so with lower

and similar cases. (Geminate Iy/ is heard only rarely in overly

drawled pronunciations of ayer, payer, etc.)

It is often difficult to know whether the segment spelled IIi"

is [I] or [y] -- or some other palatal -- in premium, labial, mania,
" , regalia, and the like. But given such a determination, it follows
that a syllabic boundary stands immediately after [i], but not after
[y] -- where principle IV does not apply. (See above for [i';] in
regalia, comparably syllabified with what was found for value and
billion.) It will usually be easier to settle the matter when an
accented nucleus follows than when an unaccented nucleus follows
the potential hiatus; cf. the verb associate (with mid-accented final
syllable) with the noun associiltc (.,.lith unaccented final syllable).

Note that a It I boundary plays a role in lento speech, even

though this drops out in rapid utterance. Syllabic [t] is heard
in bottlcilr, but not in bottle+r. It will be clear from earl ier
discussion that a syllabic boundary always separates a nuclear from
a non-nuclear geminate as in calculate [I~r±t: '{t, . ;c] and collide
[~f,tfiarj]. Note further that geminate [.,.,] is perhaps clearer in
evaluate before mid-accented -ate than in cvaluatit'c before unaccented
30 - Ba i 1ey


Having stated the overall principles of English syl1abi7atio'-l,

the discussion may now turn to the problems inherent in I"ihat t,J':'
been said and the theoretical conclusilil~s vhich can be dcdl'ced
from the discussion. Since so~e issues connected with specific
issues have already been dealt with above, these ne~d n2t be
repeated here unless they bear on larger conclusions.

It has been pointed out that syl labization depends on accent.

Since the basic ingredient of Engl ish accent is length (it i~)
combined with pitch in most intonational patterns; sep Bailey MS:
chap. 10), accent and rhythm go hand in hand, Acccn t SC{'iIS to
determine rhythm, and certainly (as noted several times above)
it determines syllabization, either directly or through the
mediation of rhythm. Two things make the last surmise seem
1 ikely: (I) Different syllabizat ions are tempo-dependent -­
tempo being closely all led with rhythm. (2) It has been noticed
that in the operation of principle Ic, the larger the clu~ter.
the more I ikely more consonants are to cluster with the heavie r ­
accented nucleus. A third point is that Hawai ian creole and other
creol ized pronunciations of Engl ish lacking the Engl ish type of
accent and rhythm prefer what above has been cal led unmarked
syl1i:lb,ization as much as possible and conscq'Je:ttly lack a number
of Engl ish rules presupposing the other syllabization. Among
these are the change of syllable-final 111!/ to Ll between
vowels and the deletion of Ilt!1 in center, etc. HE also lacks
syllabic sonorants, presumably because the [t]{allfJays unaspirated
In HE; cf. n. 28) in button has the unmarked syllabization.

At severa I po i nts above, it h.::ls been sugges ted t t,a t I angudCjf'S

with accents 1 ike Engl ish require a new definition of narkcd And
u~marked syllabization -- that these terms should be d~pendent
on different (accentuations and) rhythms. If this ~uggestion were
adopted, unmarked syllabization ~. . ould cluster as milny c!)ns(;r~ants
as are permitted word-initially or I"Jord-finally around a more
heav i I y accented nue I eus in preference to ales;, h:av i I y accented
one, and the unmarking would increase (where clusters arc involvcrl)
a" the tempo increased. This would be in accord \'Iith "Ihat is
othe::r\'Jisc known about unmarking -- that it i nV-eel c ;J" the tel'-po
increases and the monitoring of one's s:Jct::ch (1eLft.<J;c5, (The
older understanding of unmarked syllabizCltiur1. appropriate to
syllable-timed rhythm, vlOuld conflict ItJith this univer' al in
principle Ic, though not la.) The effect of syllal);lylI1') conson-­
ant s Hi th a preced i ng accented nuc 1eus is enhanced i t t he fo I ! 0,,­
ing nucleus is Uflilccented; cf. n. 26.

If this suggestion to redefine UNrARKfD SYILtGIZAT!CN for

.](,cerlt-timed rhythm is accepted, then si[1g1e i.Jr,d f ,l/ir1 </ Cjlid,:-s -"10

----- ~---------~----------~
----------------- -------------------
Ba i ley - 31

I iquids in the "r-less " lects wi 11 hc1ve a marked, rather than
unmarked,' syllab i zat ion. For a proper perspect i ve for under­
standing this, it is necessary to consider RE5YLLABIZATION, not
only in Engl ish, but in other languages. The treatment of
underlying gl ides and I iquids according to principle Iia in
"r-Iess" lects of Engl ish is not exceptional, at least in com­
parison with the historical treatment of intervocalic gl ides
in Engl ish which was noted in the first section, and certainly
as compared with the present treatment of obstruents. At least
for the gl ides, this exceptionality serves to mark the foreignness
of all internuclear gl.ides, viz. those appearing in the underlying

representation in this position (kayak, bayou, MalIa, bouillon,

etc. have already been cited. cf. also The same excep­

tional treatment characterizes non-nuclear geminate sonorant

consonants after syllable-final nuclear sonorants. But here,

it is hardly possible to have any other syJlabization; and

perhc1ps gemination is a bit odd in Engl ish, although geminate

sonorants occur, 1 ike other consonants, at boundaries.

Let us accept the proposal that resyllabization has as its

purpose the making of distinctions, e.g. between underlying
and non-underlying sonorants, and see how the view holds up in
other languages, particularly those having other rhythms and
other definitions of what is an unmarked or a marked syllabiza­
tion. French is such a language, and while the present example
is not one from syllabization, it is related to syl labization.
Normally the sequence of the vowels lui and Iii in that order
makes the first unsyllabic, so that the syllable will be completely
open -- not even moderately27 closed; the result is [.. . ;], as in
oui 'yes', But wher~ IAI is changed to a front 91 ide, we get the
reverse sequence: [u l ] , as in bouillc 'boil' (subjunctive). The
Iii is geminated, and Iyl appears before a following vowel, as in
bouillon. The unusual treatment -- marked syllabization in
bouillon -- is reserved for the unusual circumstance. 28 Classical
Greek al lowed poets to resyllabify diphthongs 1ike lei ~;I in
order to make these heavy syllables 1ight before vowels by
changing Iii to /iI, syllabified with the next vO\"lf:~1 (Bai ley
(1969a),642). Latin al lowed a poet to resyllabify pa~trcm to
pat-rem, in order to create a heavy initial syllable if the meter
required one. Whi Ie these resyllabizations do not serve the
function which resyllabization in Engl ish does, they do show that
the usual syllabization in a language can under certain circumstances
be altered if necessary for a distinction that is useful. Further
motivation for resyllabization in Finnish is discussed in Karttunen
MS. I,./hy "r-ful" N5 did not avail itself of the distinction found
In "r-less" 55 remains unexplained.

What has been said permits the conclusion that what is unmarked
and fll.Jrked in syll.Jbizat:on:'9 depends on rhythm and tCf:lpO. In
],Jnguages vlith syllable-til'lcd rhythm, and even in languages that
have long vowels (treated as bin~ric) -- whether in accented or
32 - Ba i ley

unaccented syllables -- but which lack dccent-timed rhythm, the

unmarked syllabization is V-C(R)V (provided that if R is present
C is an obstruent, and provided clusters like tl, dm, and probably
sr and others are not tautosyl1abic); other syllabizations are
marked. In languages havinq accent-timed rhythm I ike Enyl ish,
the unmarked syllabization has at least one consonant clustered
\vith the heavier of two adjacent accents; wher·e /;:/ IJ r e(;1udes u,i~
in lento tempo, a marked syllabization can result. flere ten,p:l
enters, since the faster the tempo the more consonants hav" t<J t,f,
clustered with the heavier accent -- provided they are possibl~
word-initial or word-final clusters, as the case may be -- in
order for the syllabization to be unmarked. Further, word
boundaries may delete in rapid tempos. Thus, what is unmarked
varies gradiently with the tempo. Moreover, the larger the
cluster and the less accented a following nucleus, the ;;jore likely
the allegro-type syllabization is to be exhibited. Thus what
is unmarked syllabization is gradiently characterized. The
definition appJ ies to obstruents and liquids al ike.

The foregoing characterization offers no guio~ to ~he

unmarked syllabization of consonants standing betv;ct:l: unaccented
nuclei. It is probable that they should be syllabif ied with
the preceding nucleus (in the unmarked situation) in accent-timed
languages, since that is what is found in allegro tempos in Engl ish.
It has been noted above that it is a general I inguistic principle
that what is unmarked is more I ikely to be found in allegro or
unmonitored pronunciations than in lento, r!)()nitored ones. English
syllabifies single consonants which are both preceded and followed
by unaccented nuclei with the following one only in lento tempo.
Given the correctness of what has just been said, the unmarked
syllabization of single consonants bet·.veen unaccented nuclei is
just the opposite in the h'/O kinds of rhythm -­ accent-timed
and syllable-timed.

Having accepted the new characterization of unmarked ,>yllabizJ­

tion it is necessary to mention a few problem'>, rc d"si[1lild~or/
rule changes occur in very rapid tempos before fully accented nuclei
in defiance of either definition of unmarked syl labization, which
should increase in rapid tempos (as noted earl leI). One such
change is that of internuclear syllable-final 11./1 to [JJ in
at all and tautology in rapid pronunciation. ~nother is the dele­
tion of II til in An(t}'ar(c}tica.. Still another is the assimi1at iOI
of II nil in rapidly pronounced one ['\~:,r:;] ':;Iernent. Bor·'ela1, F-.u'
lintgvistics -- as wel1 as possibly in angier, Si, and ..,mJE:!,
should the usual syllabization heard in vcstn/ and r',I:!tr! really
occur here. Note moreover that in very rapid ternrC! C'VCI' II n:ll
not Jssimilated in ordinary tempos -- is assimi latcci to I~I in
ice !'.'3mcone by young children. The solution to this dijenll<'J
is to admit that the syllabization constraint:: cn '>'/11 bil.JtICr;i';C
dro~p,:d in very rapid tempos. It i<;. hnmm that ::.~.':~( ij",~,;fl1iLil;!) <;


Ba i ley - 33

cross syllabic boundaries; e.g. the retroflexion of It I in

Mal-rose in English, or the assimilation of all vovlels in a

word to' the rounding of a given vowel in its base (in vowel­

harmony languages; cf. nn. 3. 18). In ob'serve (whose [z]

contrasts with [5] in conserve), voice-assimilation crosses a

syllabic boundary. Note further the backward assimilation of

syllabic IQI to heterosyllabic Ipl in open and happen, yielding

[rp] in their pronunciations: ['OU prp Ihi£Prp].

Linguistic theory probably needs to be furnished with a meta­

principle that phonological rules ordinarily do not cross syllabic
boundaries; that where a language has general ized a rule to cross
such boundaries under I imited or general conditions, the rule
must be specifically marked as a transyllabic rule under the
relevant conditions. What is clear is that unless assimilatory
phenomena are handled with great finesse the unwary analyst will
be led astray by the evidence they offer.

There seems to be no valid use for the term AMBISYLLABIC,

employed by some writers to denote a segment syllabified with
both preceding and following nuclei. Except for phonetically
long, but phonologically geminate, segments, this does not seem
to occur, consonants going with one vowel or the other. If used,
the term might be redefined to refer to consonants which can go
either way, depending on the tempo -- although they are definitely
syllabified in one direction or the other in a given tempo.

At this point, there are to be considered the earl ier phono­

logical rules of Engl ish requiring the syllable-timed definition
of unmarked syllabization, and the later rules that require our new
accent-timed definition of unmarked syllabization -- and which in
fact were employed to establ ish it. 3G A number of early rules
ut iIi ze the concept of WEAK CLUSTER and STRONG CLUSTER. 31 (I) The
accent rules place the accent on certain syllables only if they
contain heavy nuclei or end in strong clusters, e.g. the final
syllables in la'mer.t, ulsurp, calvort (but not in 'edit, in'terpret,
del termine, and 'cancel, where the final cluster is a weak one;
see Chomsky and Halle (1968),69). (2) Heavy underlying vowels
are lightened before most heavy clusters containing no It I (see
n. 31 for beast, etc.). (3) The rule that changes 11711 to /JI
and eventually to a compound nucleus is contingent on the tauto­
sy'labicity of given segments preceding and following. (4) The
rule that assimilates underlying velars and palatal izes the light
one (fl gil) before underlying non-low front vowels (e.g. regent,
electricity; cf. regal, electric), while not requiring the concept
of strong or weak clusters, will clearly be more natural if the
velar is tautosyJ labic with the following vm'lel -- in I"hat would
be an unmarked syllabization if the language were syllable-timed.
(5) To avoid deleting /+/ in calmative and pa.lmarll, as in calm and
FJ.lm, it is necessary to treat IlrJI as hetercsyllobic (syllable­
timed syllabization).32
In fact (cf. Vennemann (1972)), such rule5 can be simplified
to capture higher general izations if the concepts of open and
closed syllabizations are substituted for those of weak and strong
clusters. 33

Later rules require ,he new definition of syllabization. lhe

IJreceding discussion has commented on l6) the palatal ization of
apicals followed by tautosyl1abic 1'./ and 0) the rule deleti r ,g
interconsonantal apical stops, where only the situation preceding
H rH followed by an unaccented nucleus violates the general ization
that interconsonantal apical stops are 5yl labified with a preceding
fully accented nucleus -- indicating a preference for the new
understanding of syllabization in languages havinq accent-timed
rhythm. Other rules already (except 22, 27, 28 below) discusspd
which operate only if this last-mentioned view of syllabization
is presupposed are: (8) the change of syllable-final internuclear
II til to [d]; (9) the deletion of syllable-final II til follo>'lI'in9
II nil; (10) the deletion of a nasal before i'l tautosyllabic heavy
obstruent; (II) the aspirating of syllable initial occlusives;
(12) the change of /TI to 55 [3] and of IT ----:1 to T\oI [ ] Itihen
syllable-final or when followed by I ight consonants other than
Ilg/l; (13) the assimilation of II nil to following tautosyllabic
obstruents; (14) the change in some lects of postnuclear H p ~H
to /f vi and (IS) the sporadic change of syllable-final H tU to
/';J kl and of II pll to Ikl (which is hardly a general rule); (16)
the I imitation of syllabic nasals after stops to those that are
heterosyllabic; (17) the lect-specific change of internuclear
glides and liquids to nuclear satellites; (18,19,20) vOltJel­
neutralizations, vowel-retractions, and the changes of accented
IUJI ar/ to [+: :r 3:] in pull, pulley, cur, currl) v;hich depend on
the tautosyllabicity of the vowel and following I iquid and do not
occur where this condition does not obtain; (21) diphthongizations,
such as the change of lei! to [(£;1] in ](1,';.',0, It/hich dcper-,d on the
tautosylln[,icity of the follol,-,ing consonant in prc)nunciations ii,
which the changes occur; (22) the deletion in some lects of post­
nuclear Ie 01 if followed by (tautosyliabic) 1+ a;, t.s in [nil,
ti.:e, cmd, but not -- in lects having the 'ir-less" s/l1abizatinn
of int,:rnuclear liquids -- in boiling, tiling, ai1 d :;o::ing; (23)
the deletion of syllable-final glides, as in . [(:nelle_ui,
Durham, John'l , deputy, carburetor, m,:.u1UFi~~tuC(;· ( ee above); (24)
the reciprocal lengthening of nuclei and sk)rtenina of heavy tuuto
syllabic obstruents following then,; (25) the di,!hthongization 0',
e.g. Ie 01 to I',i QUI, in which the gl ide is sylld':Jified \vith the
preceding nuclear peak; and (26) the palatalization of velars
between a preceding accented front vowel and d fol lo~ing mid or
back nucleus, as in rt'gal and liq,L)T, C'f //,< II after tautosyllabic
Ilsll or before tautosyllabic /11/1, and the paliJtJl izaric·n of
apicals before talltosyllabic iii (contra ~ t,..JO pr"nunl-iation~ of
j118t lIet, sineh', .71t?nu). There is also (27) the rule if I H.:1lvi.iii ,inc!
sporadically elsewher-e that changes 1/:: Ti! tc' rl'Fi'j'lLec, befoft'
Ba i 1ey - 35

11,11 (which II rll is deleted in HE; since HE has syllable-timed

rhythm' and syllabizat ion, as well as It I for II LII • bathroom is

[ I ba I t Sum] ) .

Finally, (28) various Ilr-ful" lects change h.:1 to [::J] in the

syllable-final environment; cf. the word-final nucleus of Panama,

ma, pa, Arkansas, etc. For such speakers, the change occurs in

both syllables of pawpaw (ultimately from papaya) and in the first

syllable of praline. The syllabization of the latter is clearly

'pra,line in the lects under consideration. Since the change never

occurs in father (which once had 1].:1, even though today the under­

lying representation for the lects in question may contain #0#),

it is obvious that the syllabization of this last word is: fath~er.

In languages having different preferred syllabizations,

assimilation may work in opposite directions (cf. n. 28). In

Engl ish observer, # 5# is assimilated to the voicing of the pre­

ceding Ilb/l. becoming Iz/; but in French observer, 11t,11 is

assimilated to the voicing of the following # 5#, becoming Ip/.34

The only logical way to account for the different syllabiza­

tions presupposed by the phonological rules of Engl ish seems to
assume that when the accent rules determine the place of the accent,
they may also determine the kind of accent. The accent rules and
rules preceding the accent rules assume the neutralor unmarked
(syllable-timed) rhythm; those following the accent rules observe
the convention that syllabization is subject to the generaliza­
tion that consonants tend to cluster around more heavi Iy accented
nuclei, rather than around less heavi Iy accented ones. If exhaustive
research shows that the four rules mentioned above which presume
the syllable-timed accentuation al I precede the accent rules -­
or in the case of the accentuation of heavy syllables, coincide with
them -- then this proposal should be adopted. For the rules which
presume the accent-timed syllabization indisputably fol low the
accentuation rules. The writer is confident that the proposal will
hold up in the testing.

To conclude, it may be helpful to point out that Itle have

distinguished by their effects at least four overall tempo diffe­
rences: (1) the very monitored or drawled tempo ~·lith syllable­
timed rhythm and in which lei affects principle Ib and various
late rules are blocked;3S (2) moderately lento tempo; (3) normal
allegro tempo; (4) very rapid tempos in It/hich ltil is deleted and
certain assimilations cross syllabic boundaries or occur with
results not found in other tempos. In the technical language of
phonology, the phenomena mentioned under (4) are to be characterized
as RULE-GENERALIZATIONS; these are expected to begin in the most
rapid pronunciations (see Bailey (1974c)).
36 - Ba i 1ey


*Part of this writing was prepared as part of the research

efforts of the Sociolingui'.;tic Proaram <It Georgc;chifl Uni\,c,.~itv,
,vh i ch was funded by a g remt fI'orll the N·:n i on,d Sc: L:r'CC' rU"lldd ~ i ",I,
\."hose support is gratefully acknov;lf·dqcd. Till", anicll' i'. <.,!iqht
Iy more tochnical and expanded ve,.-sion of Zl :,fCl;or, or d'dptCI' 11ili'_
of the author's South!:!.l."n States Phonetics (in pre~ar<1ti()fl). rClr
this reason. the phonetic transcriptions indiCdte "r-le 51' SCULl-ern
States pronunciations unless stated otherwi~e.

lThis writer (1969:260, 269), despi te all evidence tc) {tl('

contrary. unaccountably follows the viCl!l of KurytOliLZ (l9 1,S) it,a'
dri"'Vil'lg is syllabified thus (but sec principle Ib bclci\l), _indc
~ marks the syllabic boundary. After this cJrticl.; "ad beer' \11 leten,
the wr iter became aware of Pu 1gram (1961) ('dhere the ru 1v dr'! i,:t; i")
lei in French is connected ItJith different syll<lbi?at inn',., l'~no:d
(1955/6) (cited in the foregoing), Kunert (1967), C,chole c, i1968}
(the last two cited in Szemen~nyi (1970)), Ludtke (I ). i\ndl:rso 'c
and Jones (1974). ond Reimold (1974).

2The gradient framework is clarified in Sai ley (1974a) (less

technically) and (1974c) (more technically). The \vr-itcT en.ploys
double slants for underlying representations, square bracket~
for phonetic representations. and single slants for representa­
tions at intermediate points in the deriv(Hion of a form (i.e. the
outputs of phonetological rules other than the la<;t). Double
square brackets are used for phonetic representations that show
finer detail than is normally called for. The vm·,cl sy,r:bols
[+ 1 <t] denote lateral and sulcal ized nuclear peLlk ; [ ... a-] .)r(.' tne
corresponding nuclear satell ites. The symbols [I r 1 are rC5erv~d
for non-nuclear (consonantal) segrncnlS; see Bailey (l9OS ..,) t0r­
descriptive details. TAUTOSYLLABIC refers to (;;sdjacent) erWt:nh
that belong to the same syllable; segments belonainq to different
syllables are HETEROSYLLABIC. The lC LECT (u I', i!·,fl'rene;.
to DIALECT) is described and ju~,tified in Rclile \1974;) .,lnd c:ise­
~·Jhere. Abbreviations used in t'1is ,....T iting for ~n(ll·c.r- !ec~, ,jlf~
S5 (Southern States, exclusivL' of the Tjd(:;\·".ltl~r r'::(I'''11 ;, T''';
(Tide,..ater; specifically CharJestoi'. '). C,). ~J::; :.~4i'ltl:.~·r~1 Ste,L <;!
HE (Hawaiian Enolish),and BRP (Britir.," ?,~c:.t.'jv't:d f', ;!!I.~i~tior\.

3The most important pioneerinj ,·;or", is fou::d I I KnzhC,";!'h

and Chistovlch (!965). These authors used previou~Jv dwvel
techniques (e.g. artificially induced stutterin,;) ancj fJlher·s.
Whi Ie the present writer agrees with their conclusi • h8 disaqrc~
t:',cJt some of their main evidence and reD<;~irlC: suppo't Th,·
eVld(~f;Ce of the light-weighted feature, [ruundl. i'-' ,', ~'],:':',.Hi(
;wc;. pcints are of interest here. Ass;r";latcH-; rr.r ,;';II!JV C:tJ~,',



Ba i ley - 37

~yllabicboundaries, as in vowel-harmony languages, where vowels

following the first vowel of the base have to agree in rounding

with the rounding of that first vowel. Furthermore, while the

environment u u would prove little about the syl labization of a

consonant bet;een these vowels, so far as [round] would offer

evidence, the evidence of the environments i u and u i may show

that an intermediate consonant may syllabify-with the first or

with the second nucleus. Under fixed prosodic conditions, rounding

in one of these environments would provide evidence for syllabiza­

tion if rounding were absent in the other. Some other writers

experimenting with syllabization have inval idated their work, at

least for speakers of Engl ish, by ignoring the prosodic factor;

contrast expected [ I fCL; I fo.: I fa: I fa] wi th [ I fo.: f~e I fG.: f-e] , where

accent affects syllabization, as wil I be clarified in detail below.

41f in some language a base form ikli should have a redupl icated
derivative ikli-li, one might infer a syllabic boundary between [k]
and [I] in the base. But if the derived form were ikli-kli, then
the syllabic boundary would be presumed to stand immediately before

Sin other languages, it is the heaviness of the final syllable

that is what determines accentual phenomena. Cf. Hawaiian WaikikT

with Maklki, and classical Greek [oikoi] "homes" with [6 i kO-i

6 i koi:] "at home" (where the tilde indicates a falling, or at least

not rising tone). See Lehiste (1970:156-159) for inferences about

syllabization from accentuation in Estonian.

6Assimilation and other natural rules (Bailey (1974c» are

increasingly I ikely to operate as a speaker's speech is less monitored
i.e. more hasty, fatigued, or affected by emotional stress.

7This accords with what is known as Verner's Law in the history

of the Germanic languages; e.g. Old Engl ish C'~a:p "I said" (in which
[p] is from earl ier "'t following the earl ier accent) and cweden
(perfect participle; where [d] is from earl ier "'d followed by the
original accent).

8Cf. Swedish, where a consonant is geminated (phonologically

doubled, phonetically lengthened) after a short vowel, thus creating
an alternation between V:C and VC: structures of constant syllabic

9The deletion is regular in all lects of English except in the

most monitored tempo when interconsonantal II :11 stands before an
Obstruent, lateral, or nasal; e.g. was(t)e paper, las(t) minute,
lcf(t) corner, cos(t)ly, exac(t}l!j, beas(t)ly. In the sane pre­
consonantal environments, Iidl preceded by any lateral or Ilrll is
similarly treated; and Ct, Id, nd are also treated al ike when Ilwll
38 - Bailey

or Ilrll follows. See details later on. Such deletions are inhioited
by IHI in the slower tempos in vlhich 1;;1 is not d(:leted (sec be 10";) ;
e.g. pass#ed by, c<:1nn#ed milk.
The deletions occur, all else being

equal, more frequently when the preceding liucleus is unaccented;

c.g. breakfast, forest, dentist, fastest, perfect, ril,ald, dLcJ.r::or;J,


l~'Vennernann (1972) first puint<·d out si iL,if fact" in UIC C",ri'dn,

family of languages. He noted that 11"':11 is clelett;d in ic.elan,jic Ilslblings" but not in vest'ra in the West; and concluded that
different syllabizations obtain before an obstruent and before 111//,
with syllable-final lit/I being the one that gets deleted. Ve'memann
also noted that in the northern pronunciation of standard German, It J
and [gl] clusters which result from the deletion of an intervening
unaccented /al are pronounced as such, vlhi Ie II r+1 -t-il/ obey the la'l'I
dcvoicing syllable-final obstruents; e.g. Lieb+linq [':: :fl'Ir]. It
is different with the cluster resulting from the deletie'rl f UfI,H'»:;ll'«
ICjI between lid/I and II III. Vennemann plausibly eo<plains the:
difference as being due to the fact that [el] ~lay 'lOt. as r~l] and
[gl] may, stand at the beginning of a word in this variety ot German
(some lects change initial II gill to (J I], as in q:,W2ili[,). I" (:();)nt::(~-
tlon with Vennemannls discussion of Sievers' La,,1 ;p Gothic, th.: pr<.Osen­
writer wishes to point out the alternation betl'/ceri syllable-final !"I
in Gothic kniu "knee l! and maujos ['m;::>y:..';s] "maiden s" 2r,d syll':lbl ­

initial /w/ in kniwis "knee l s" and mawi (nominative sinqulcn forr.
of maujos). It is obvious that syllable-initial 1'1 and s'/llal)le~
irlitial Iw/ acted differently; for the former alone combined v·,;n,
the preceding la/ to yield [~].

llSometimes a name and an aim are confused ir. the tempos in

which IN/ is deleted. The same confusion has perma~Lntly tak~n
place in nickname, from (an) ekenamc'.

12The absence, even in lento tempo in some varieties of Englisfl

(e.g. 5S), of morpheme-final syllabic SOflorants bef()n~ -il"; :r noun::
or adjectives (but not verbs in lento tempo) de):'end'~ I)il Lhc~ reductiun
of Ii/I to 1+/; e.g. op(e:;!)n+iIl:i, 5>,tr.;1+;nq, J:,,:,tt~.. tdc>lrTi1:;:
See BJi ley MS: chap. 6. Cf. L,att':'lj (n., tlEctr I:'dl j"'/lCL')'
b3tt(e)r+y (n., a crime), and t'att(r.:~/ (adj. "bdtter-l jL,;"). LOI,t,-.,
[t] in r;:id+th with [d] in Hid!;th.

13The main purport of this principle \-J.jS stated if Hoard (1~1711,

Dut without gradient variation. It i., n(:ces<;Jr-y to :-lent ien "dcl :b"rat,
pronunciations I ike pux;JOse [':::';3:pa:;], ,lspir-,]t iun is repL)c..:-J
with consonantal length.

14This qual ification is relative, since fast te:',pc's permi t c I,; ,::'
r :.
not permitted in slower tempos; e.g. m'rin~, [~m, ('" ~ .I • ,. ,
~lso n. 23. Note that syllable-initiJI aspil-d!:{.:

Ba i ley - 39

cJ syncope in s(e)cure, f(a)tigue, etc. Given the obvious monosyllabicity

of such forms, it is clear that the aspiration test should not be used
without great care and sophistication.

15As a matter of fact, it is evidence from the boundaries that

allows I inguists to specify relative tempos, rather than the other

way around. Boundaries and tempos go together, the former providing

Ie symptomatic evidence for the latter.

161t should be noted that the [Id] cluster found in SS golden

[lgoUldan] rules out a fol lowing syllabic nasal, whereas this is

permitted in NS ['go+:dt;l], where the lateral is a nuclear satell ite,

which cannot form a consonantal cluster with the following [d].

(See below on [It].)

171n the position immediately fol lowing a tautosyl labic nucleus,

;ci changes of ff pff to [k] are attested in sloppy pronunciations of
stripe, type, and tape. Parallel evidence of changes of II til or II pll
to Ikl in this position and of /I kll or II pll to I~I in the prenuclear
position is available from other languages -- e.g. a child's pronun­
ciation of Mandarin Chinese kut "bone" as tuk (Hsieh (1972: 89»,
t and the change between Greek 8kop(tic) and Lat in spec(ulate). Cf. the
child's I tought I taw a puddy-tat. The metatheses in languages
of the Philippine Islands illustrate similar changes. In the lan­
guage of NATURAL PHONOLOGY, the raison d'etre of such changes is to
produce feature unmarkings (see Bailey (1974c: Appendix A); the
expected places of articulation for obstruents other than sibilants
are different in the postnuclear position of a syllable than in most
other environments). See also Bailey (1970). In Bailey (1974c) it
is made clear that in the author's view (a) apical consonants (other
than fricatives) are most natural before a tautosyllabic vowel and
following a consonant immediately preceded by a tautosyl labic nucleus,
(b) that velars are preferred immediately after a tautosyllabic nucleus
and preceding a consonant (especially [r]) immediately followed by a
tautosyllabic vowel, and (c) that labials have an intermediate
degree of naturalness in both environments. (See the reference
concerning palatals and for fricatives.) A natural sequence would
be: KTVKT, where K represents a velar (preferably a fricative when
a stop follows) and T an apical. This arrangement strongly suggests
the truth of the view of Kozhevnikov and Chistovich, among others,
that complex clusters assume deleted vowels in an original CVCVCV
sequence. The facts of children's and adults' acquisition of new
clusters seem to support this view also.

19The resyl labization view, though undoubtedly legitimate in

some cases, is very problematic in Of] guard, Ra~goon, Be~gal, li~­
'3 gUistics, and one ['",t,m] moment, where the following nucleus is
fully accented. It is known that some assimilations may cross word
boundaries; e.g. hor~e shoe, ju~1 yet. Cf. further examples below.
40 - Ba i ley

19S ee n. 9. Note that apical stops preceded by a vm"el, sonorant,

or stop are unreleased before 1#:. ""/, as in ricrht one, v,'cr.t;!worth,
• rightliward, red#wing, night#ratte, and Land;}rov','r, but fT'ay be released
before Irl rl, as in Edward, ",:ladw';'n, n.itro,andHl;:h!::'x. Cf. also n. 21.
No one would question that the ordinary syllabizvtion is [:':~_r) in
act right and [v-t~] in oa~,'itn:(; [; (:)-,,] in scld once and [,~:;]
in small drink; or [n(rj)-I:] in end well and ["1-:::;r] in one drop. (In
all such cases the syllabic boundary precedes a fully accented or mid­
accented syllable.) When a speaker has deleted the first nasal of
i(n)kling and i(n)stant, the syllabization is indubitably i(n)k-ling
and i(n)s"-tiJIlt in lento tempo, as indicated by the unaspirated [k]
in the former word and the asp i rated [T h] in the 1at ter; t he a I I egro
syllabizations, as will be clear from what is being said here, as
i (n)kl~ing and (wi th unaspi rated [~]) j (Il)st-aflt.

? •
.Actually, interconsonantal 11'p,~/1 are also deleted in :-rf:mus
and asthma, if they actually exist in the underlying representations
of these words. Some interconsonantal consonant has to exist in
isthmus to prevent the change of U sU to [z] at the relevant point
in the rules (cf. the change in plasma; contrast [ ) in plastic).

7.lNote that preboundary [t] preceded by a vOI,el is unreleased

in night#rate (see n. 19), and it is not syllabified ':Iith the

following [,]; contrast released II "II, syllabified viith [r] in

nit~ic and Nye#trait. Being unreleased (as pointed out in Bailey

MS: chap. 4) is the prelude to being deleted.

22£ngl ish II stll is treated as a non-cluster or 'tJeak cluster

vJhere no boundaries intervene. Note that 11"811 is not "lade light

in beast (in bestial the I ightening of this vo,.lel is due to the

following syllables). Heavy nuclei occur also in post, m08t, cndst.

T0dst, boast, case, yeast, one pronunciation of tT~lst, etc. The

change of II lUI to /UI may occur before // til -- nc less than before

a single consonant -- when a vowel fol lows; cf. Houston, Eustace.

23Note that English permits \"ord-initial /I" prll, but not

Ilvr :)rll (but cf. n. 14). Even though \lJord-initial II ;:1::1 f,j b'll

are tolerated (but not usually Ilbl Y'I vi/I), the syllabizati~n

principles stated in Ib and Ic see!";) '1everthelcss to be correct. In

the Southern States U sl srU are perwitted word-initially, but not

1/ Sl s"II: in the Northern States, \·.ord-initial /1 ,I >11 are

tolerated but not II srll nor, except in rur 10rous pseudo Yiddish

wo r d s, II I II .

tl(>vertheless principles Ib and Ie do not usually syllabify

1/ '31'il/1 , etc., together between nuclei. Note that where a nasal

is deleted before a tautosyl1abic heavy obstruent -- including al I

such obstruents in clusters preceding unaccented nuclei -- the remai­

ning consonants are syllabified by principles alrcvdv provided, as

if the nasal had never been there; e.(l. dr;)ch~'()r and i(n)k~linrr

(\f/ith unaspirated [k]; cf. n. 19).

I Ba i ley - 41

24"R-fu]l' lects in which the output of II rll is a vibrant are

syllabified with the same principles as "r-less" lects. " r -ful"
and "r-less" SS lects are similarly syllabified with respect to
internuclear sonorants other than h rh fol lowed by an unaccented
nucleus, but in "r-ful ll SS internuclear II rll before unaccented
nuclei is treated as in other (e.g. NS) "r-ful" lects. For inter­
nuclear II rll followed by a mid-accented nucleus in IIr-ful" SS
(treated as in "r-Iess'SS), see principle III below. Principle
Iia has to be modified for (lIr-less") BRP where Ilrll is concerned.
Here It/I is disregarded following heavy nuclei, where II rll always
is syllabified with the preceding nucleus (as in " r -ful" lects)
and then geminated. An example is found in n. 25.

25Contrast the neutralized accented nucleus in BRP fury ['tyo~rI

Ifyo8rr 'fy3:rI] with SS ['fLiUrI], where II rll is not geminated.
See n. 24. The neutral izations in seriOUS, period, Mary, marry,
merry, Murray, forest, trolley, sailing, selling, etc. occur only
where (I) a speaker geminates internuclear 1 iquids AND (2) this
rule precedes the neutral ization rule. A speaker may have rule
(I) without neutral ization where the rules are in the other order.

26Mid-accent is ultimately gradient, as in full accent, because

of the effects of intonation; see Bailey MS: chapter 10. Therefore
the I ikelihood of any given syllabization or another in principles
la and I lIb is further graded for the degree of heaviness of a
full or mid accent. Note that the change of II til to [d] in
allegro tempo in the environment heard in motto, etc., which is
discussed in the following lines can also occur in allegro hot ,house,
especially if Ihl is deleted here, as often in allegro speech before
less than fully accented nuclei.

271n a ternary view of syllabic openness, the mid value, [x open]

could designate syllables ending in nuclear satell ites; e.g. boy
['b;)e], tell ['th€+:], abhor [8b'hJ~] ("r-less" [ao'h;):]).

28Bailey (1974c: n. 24) discusses a number of prosodic phenomena

which seem to go hand-in-hand. One language type has syllable-timed
rhythm and a preference for the syl labization of consonants with the
following nucleus, as well as a number of other prosodic characteris­
tics; the other group has a preference for the other syllabization
and a different set of al lied prosodic characteristics.

29There may be supermarked syllabizations ([M syllabization]);

these would be those commented on in nn. 14, 23. This would be
expected in a system (preferred by the present writer) in which all
features are ternary-valued.

3GThe relative earliness or lateness of the rules discussed

here is -- with the exception of the accent rules -- demonstrated
in Bai ley (1973).

42 - Ba i ley

31A weak cluster contains a stor) plus a gl ide or I iquid, with

the exclusion of It I 01 t~ dn t~ :~/. Apparently heavy stops plus
ff Iff are weak clusters (cf. the change of ff ~ff in Euclid, dupli­
c3te, etc.), while I ight stops form heavy clusters with a following
lateral (e.g. public lacks the change of II!JII ill question). The
cluster ff ~wff is I ight i~ 'subs0qucnt and in col'lbquial, as accent
rules show. Except for I!d, all combinations of tltJO or more
I ight (i.e. excluding In/) sonorants form strong clusters; and
the exceptional ity of Ilyl is only apparent, as explained elsewhere.
Note that II stll and II slit II , but not II s+t//, form a I ight cluster
for the change of IltUI, as in Eustace and Houston, as well as for
the rule that I ightens underlying heavy vowels, as in post, beast.
Most accent rules may treat as I ight clusters in some classes of
words II stll , as in sinister, and 1/ r;;rll , as in integral. Hov!ever,
ff stff is a heavy cluster for the accent rules (e.g. molest), as
are combinations of sonorants plus obstruents in which the sonorants
subsequently to the accent rules -- are changed to nuclear elements
(e.g. knelt ['n,t:t]). It should be noted, however, that the accent
rules treat word-final II st/I as light in nouns (Ross (1972: 247-54);
cf. 262). Cf. also light ff stff in travesty, minister, artistry,
ministry, and tapestry. Note also 'quadruplet.

32The fact that the lateral satell ite is deleted before tauto­
syllabic non-apicals is due to their being non-apical ized laterals
here. They are not generally deleted before apicals, since there
they are apical ized. (The deletions in would, etc. are due to the
unaccented status of the modals. The deletion in talk, walk, folk,
yolk, calm, half, calf, salve -- the noun -- and nonstandard help,
self, etc. all occur before non-apicals of the heavy, or voiceless,
order. )

33S tr ictly speaking, the general ization about closed syllabiza­

tion is not substitutable for heavy clusters in the accent rules or
in the vowel-l ightening rules in one of their environments -- viz.
the word-final one. So 11911, vJhich is lightened in kept (before
C+C##), is not I ightened in keep; and the unaccented /1 ell in the
verb interpret contrasts wi th accented II ell in lament (c.f. above).
Internally, however, syllable closure is substitutable, with gains
in the simpl ification of the rules, for heavy clustering. Note
that the change of ff~ff is prevented in closed syllables even at
the end of a vJord j cont rast augur vJi th a~iqL<r:;, fal)le II fa:;:.. I II
with fabulous, and common II k:'MlJn/l I'Ji th cC.71J1lunal.

34Cf. the inflections II;:: dll in sf: :; and st , heard

as [s tJ. The apparent leftward assimilations are anenable to
another explanation (Bailey (1974b)). Crept and left have special
explanations (BcJiley (1973), (1974b)).


35Whether tautosyllabic Ity/, Iny/, etc. become palatals or

not ~before accented nuclei} depends on the ordering of the
relevant rules (Bailey (1973)), as in mature. However, the un­
marked ordering of those rules is more likely (for speakers having
all of them) precisely in the same rapid tempo in which 1#1 is
most likely to disappear between the segments; e.g. Neptune (jf
the final syllable is unaccented, the palatalization is normal),
right here (in lects where here becomes l'hyte:1 and then ItDte:/),
and just yet, whose various pronunciations are discussed in Bailey
(1973) .
44 - Ba i 1ey


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