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TYPES OF SYLLABLES

 

Syllableis a speech unit consisting of a sound or a sound sequence one of which is heard to be more prominent than the others. The most prominent sound being the peak or the nucleus of a syllable is called syllabic. Syllabic sounds are generally vowels.

There are 4 types of syllables in English. In the first type of syllable (open syllable) vowels are read as they are named in the alphabet. In the second type of syllable (closed) a vowel is followed by a consonant. In such syllables vowels are short. The formulae vowel + r goes for the third typeofsyllable. Vowels in these syllables are mostly long. The fourth type of syllable (vowel + re) produces diphthongs or long vowels.

 

  I (V) II (V + C) III ( V + r ) IV (V + r + V)
a [e ] - plate [ æ ] – cat [ a: ] - scarf [ εə ] - care
e [ i:] - meter [ e ] - Internet [ з : ] - term (stressed syllable) [ ə ] - Peter (unstressed syllable) [ ə ] - mere
i [ a ] - time [ ] - pin [ з : ] - firm [ a ] - fire
o [ зυ ] - home [ ] - pot [ : ] - corn (stressed syllable) [ ə ] - doctor (unstressed syllable) [ : ] - core
u [ ju: ] - cute [ Λ ] - cut [ з : ] - murky [ jυə ] - pure
y [ a ] - sky [ ] - myth [ з : ] - Myrtle [ a ] - tyre

 

Most syllables contain an obvious vowel sound. Sometimes, though, a syllable consists phonetically only of a consonant or consonants. If so, this consonant (or one of them) is a nasal (usually n) or a liquid (l or, especially in AmE, r). For example, in the usual pronunciation of suddenly / 'sΛd n l /, the second syllable consists of n alone. Such a consonant is a syllabic consonant.

Instead of a syllabic consonant it is always possible to pronounce a vowel / ə / plus an ordinary (non-syllabic) consonant. Thus it is possible, though not usual, to say / 'sΛd ən l / rather than / 'sΛd n l /.



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When followed by a weak vowel, a syllabic consonant may lose its syllabic quality, becoming a plain non-syllabic consonant. For example, threatening / 'Әretən ŋ / may be pronounced with three syllables, including syllabic n,/ 'Әret n ŋ / thus; or compressed into two syllables, with plain n, thus / 'Әret.n ŋ /.

 

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Read the following words and transcribe them. | Study the rules for the following vowels and practice them in proverbs.

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