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Background The syllable is a fundamentally important unit both in phonetics and in phonology. It is a good idea to keep phonetic notions of the syllable separate from phonological ones. Phonetically we can observe that the flow of speech typically consists of an alternation between vowel-like states (where the vocal tract is comparatively open and unobstructed) and consonant-like states where some obstruction to the airflow is made. Silence and pause are to be regarded as being of consonantal type in this case. So from the speech production point of view a syllable consists of a movement from a constricted or silent state to a vowel-like state and then back to constricted or silent. From the acoustic point of view, this means that the speech signal shows a series of peaks of energy corresponding to vowel-like states separated by troughs of lower energy. However, this view of the syllable appears often not to fit the facts when we look at the phonemic structure of syllables and at speakers views about them. One of the most difficult areas is that of syllabic consonants. Syllables are claimed to be the most basic unit in speech: every language has syllables, and babies learn to produce syllables before they can manage to say a word of their native language. When a person has a speech disorder, their speech will still display syllabic organisation, and slips of the tongue also show that syllabic regularity tends to be preserved even in faulty speech. Languages in which all syllables tend to have an equal time value in the rhythm of the language are said to be syllable-timed; this tendency is contrasted with stress-timing, where the time between stressed syllables is said to tend to be equal irrespective of the number of unstressed syllables in between. Spanish and French are often claimed to be syllable-timed; many phoneticians, however, doubt whether any language is truly syllable-timed.


A. Definition A syllable is "a letter, or combination of letters, uttered together, or at a single effort or impulse of the voice," according to Webster's 1828 dictionary. Sometimes teachers refer to syllables as word chunks. Every syllable must contain a vowel.1 On the other hands, Syllable is the sound of a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) that's created when pronouncing a word. The number of times that you hear the sound of a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) in a word is equal to the number of syllables the word has.2 Syllables are important because you need to be able to identify where the stress falls in the word. If you can not find the syllable then you do not know where the stress goes. this would influence your rythm, this would influence your over all speaking ability or how well your listener can understand you.3

B. Syllable Types There are six types of syllables: Closed Syllable This type of syllable has only one vowel, and ends with at least one consonant and this is a kind of Short vowel sound. For examples: cat, chop, trip, jump, crush. Open Syllable This type of syllable ends with a single vowel, or IS a single vowel. This is a kind of Long vowel sound. For examples: I, he, try, so. V-C-E Syllable This type of syllable has a vowel, followed by a consonant, followed by e. The first vowel is long, and the final e is silent. For examples: home, ape, like, smoke.

1 2

http://www.all-about-spelling.com/syllables-spelling.html http://www.howmanysyllables.com/whataresyllables.html 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVne1gBAWQo

L-E Syllable This type of syllable has a consonant followed by le, and occurs at the

end of a word. The e is silent so only the consonant and l are heard. For examples: table, thimble, shuttle, little, dribble. R-controlled Syllable This type of syllable has a vowel combined with the letter r. The vowel is neither short nor long and is either like er or or ar. For examples: first, car, nurse, worth, worker. Double-Vowel Syllable This type of syllable has two vowels side-by-side. The vowel combination may have one of several different sounds (as in the last three examples). For examples: street, moon, boat, bean, head, great.4

C. How To Find Syllables Count the number of vowels (a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y) in the word. Count the number of audible vowels(vowel sounds) in the word. Subtract any silent vowels (like the silent 'e' at the end of a word). Subtract 1 vowel from every diphthong. A diphthong is when two volwels make only 1 sound (oi, oy, ou, ow, au, aw, oo, ...).

D. Stressed Syllable

Stressed syllable is the part of a word that you give the most emphasis to. For example, the following capitalized syllables are stressed: SOfa, TELephone, celEBrity, comPUter, aWARD, maTURE You can tell which syllables are stressed in a word by saying different parts of the word loudly, and seeing which makes sense. For example:


soFA does not sound right, but SOfa does. celebritY does not sound right, but celEBrity does. MAture does not sound right, but maTURE does. Some words can go either way, like DEtail and deTAIL, depending on

who says it. Also, if the word has only one syllable, whether it is stressed or unstressed may depend on how it is used in the sentence: "YOU like cake" emphasizes that it is you, not someone else, who likes cake. "you LIKE cake" emphasizes that you really do like cake (you do not dislike it). "you like CAKE" emphasizes that it is cake that you like, not candy or ice cream.5

E. Differences Between American and British Early settlers brought the English language from England to America, but over several hundred years the two nations have divided in their pronunciation of certain groups of words. Both countries have regional accents which further change how speakers pronounce words, but there are some key differences of English pronunciation that remain fairly constant. First Syllable Stress Many words that have found their way into English from the French language are pronounced differently on either side of the Atlantic. An example of this is the word "ballet." In American English the emphasis falls on the second syllable, whereas a British person would stress the first. Other words used in English that have their origins in French are "chauffeur," "buffet" and "brochure." A person speaking British English would stress the initial sound in these words, which sounds unnatural to the American ear.


Other Syllabic Stress Differences Some words with syllabic stress differences between the British and American speakers follow a general rule, as in words that end in "ate." With many of these a British person would stress the second syllable in words such as "donate" and "rotate." Others follow no particular pattern. A British speaker would emphasize the second syllable of "paprika," "weekend" and "princess" but the first in "marshmallow."6


F. Syllable Exercises a. Syllable Exercise 1 Directions : Pronounce each word and then write the number of syllables in it. Consult a dictionary if you are unsure of how many syllables a word has. Example: emergency = 4 Explanation: emergency

1. notebook =

2. outline =

3. dictionary =

4. summarize =

5. pencil =

6. computer =

7. television =

8. book =

9. congratulations =

10. celebrated =

b. Syllable Exercise 2 Directions: For each word below, mark (X) the answer that shows the accented or stressed syllable. This is the syllable that is said louder than the other syllable or syllables. Say the word out loud, but consult a dictionary if you need to. 1. believe A) BElieve B) beLIEVE

2. quiet A) QUIet B) quiET

3. happiness A) HAPpiness B) happiNESS

4. transmission A) TRANSmission B) transMISsion

5. report A) REport B) rePORT

6. chapter

A) CHAPter B) chapTER

7. swimming A) SWIMming B) swimMING

8. acceptance A) ACceptance B) acCEPtance

9. unusual A) unUsual B) unuSUal

10. gigantic A) GIgantic B) giGANtic7 Good Luck!





A. CONCLUSION A syllable is the sound of a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) that's created when pronouncing a word. The number of times that you hear the sound of a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) in a word is equal to the number of syllables the word has. Syllables are important because you need to be able to identify where the stress falls in the word. If you can not find the syllable then you do not know where the stress goes. this would influence your rythm, this would influence your over all speaking ability or how well your listener can understand you. There are six types of syllables: Closed Syllable Open Syllable V-C-E Syllable L-E Syllable R-controlled Syllable Double-Vowel Syllable

B. SUGGESTION The writer would like to offer some suggestion which may be helpful for whom study syllables in English. To be mastered in syllable, you have to know about some rules of syllables in English. And you also have to read about many kind of syllables. You can find it in the internet and you must practice it seriously. Keep reading!


http://www.eastsideliteracy.org/tutorsupport/documents/HO_Syllables.pdf http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081019112606AAo01f6 http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsASyllable.htm http://www.phonicsontheweb.com/syllables.php http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllable http://www.howmanysyllables.com/whataresyllables.html http://www.howmanysyllables.com/howtocountsyllables.html http://www.ehow.com/info_8177873_differences-british-american-englishpronunciation.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVne1gBAWQo http://www.all-about-spelling.com/syllables-spelling.html

http://highered.mcgrawhill.com/sites/0073123587/student_view0/chapter4/syllabl e_exercise_2__accented_syllable.html