Syllables Most of us have an intuitive feeling about syllables No doubt about the number of syllables in the majority of words. However, there is no agreed upon definition for the term syllable. Difficult to state an objective phonetic procedure for locating the number of syllables in a word or a phrase. Syllables So what can we agree on? We can agree that a syllable is made up of three parts: One: The Nucleus, which is the “core” of the syllable. It’s the vowel if there is one. Otherwise, the nucleus is made up of a syllabic consonant. Syllables All syllables have a nucleus, but may or may not have other constituents. Two: The Onset, which is made up of all of the consonants before the nucleus. Three: The Coda, which is everything after the nucleus. Syllables Another thing that we can agree on is the difference between open vs. closed syllables. Closed syllables end in a consonant. Open syllables end in vowel. Syllables Currently, the most popular approach to defining the syllable is in terms of the Phonological Approach, which appeals to the notion of Phonotactic Constraints. Syllables In every language, there are restrictions on the kinds of sounds and sound sequences possible in different positions in words (particularly at the beginning and the end of words). Syllables These restrictions can be formulated in terms of rules stating which sound sequences are possible in a language and which are not. Languages generally prefer CV, but some languages allow a syllable to begin with more than one consonant. Syllables English has a wide variety of syllable types: V oh VC at VCC ask VCCC asked Syllables CV CVC CVCC CVCCC no not ramp ramps Syllables CCV flew CCVC flute CCVCC flutes CCVCCC crafts Syllables CCCV spree CCCVC spleen CCCVCC strength CCCVCCC strengths Syllables Other languages don’t have such a large number of syllable structures. Syllables Hebrew CV CVC CVCC (only at end of word) Syllables Japanese V CV CVC Syllables Hawaiian V CV Syllables Indonesian V VC CV CVC Syllables English allows any consonant to occur word-initial, except for  and [ŋ] (except in borrowed words, such as ‘Jacques’ or ‘Nguyen’; no native English word begins with them). A large number of two consonant combinations occur, with a stop or a fricative being followed by a liquid or glide: Syllables [br] bring [gl] glean [my] music [kw] quick Syllables [r] three [fl] fly [hy] humor [sw] sweet Syllables In addition, [s] can also be followed by voiceless and nasal stops (stay, small) and by [f] and [v] in a small number of borrowed words (sphere, svelte).  (esh) can be followed by a nasal stop or a liquid, but only [r] (esh r) is a cluster native to English (shrink). Suprasegmental Features So far we have studied the characteristics of the segments of speech But speech sounds may also have suprasegmental features “Riding on the top of other segmental features” Suprasegmental Features Are different from segmental features. Not only may they belong to a single phonetic segment, They may instead extent across numerous segments in an utterance. Suprasegmental Features Intonation Pattern of rises and falls in pitch across a stretch of speech such as a sentence. Meaning can depend in part on the sentence’s intonation contour. Suprasegmental Features For example: “You You got an A on the test” can make this sentence sound like a statement Or a question. Suprasegmental Features Intonation also helps mark the boundaries of a syntactic unit. For example: “You got an A on the test, a C on the homework, and a B on the quiz” Suprasegmental Features Tone In many languages, the pitch at which the syllables in a word are pronounced can make a difference in the word’s meaning. Such languages are called tone languages. Suprasegmental Features Languages include: Thai, Chinese dialects, Vietnamese, the Bantu languages of Africa such as Zulu, Luganda, and Shona, other African languages like Yoruba and Igbo, and North and South American Indian languages like Apache, Navajo, Kiowa, and Mazotec. Suprasegmental Features So: mā má mă mà (high level) (low rising) (low falling rising) (high falling) ‘mother’ ‘hemp’ ‘horse’ ‘scold’ Suprasegmental Features Two types of tonal languages: Register tone languages Contain only register, or level, tones such as high, mid, low. Contour tone languages Contain gliding tones as well as register tones. Suprasegmental Features Stress Property of syllables, not individual segments. Stressed syllable more prominent than an unstressed syllable. But this is relative. Suprasegmental Features What is important is that the stressed syllable is perceived to be produced with greater effort. English uses several stress levels, as illustrated by the word photography. Suprasegmental Features In this word, the second syllable is most prominent – primary stress. The final syllable is next most prominent – secondary stress. The other syllables are unstressed – tertiary stress. Suprasegmental Features Suprasegmental features are difficult to transcribe because they are ‘superimposed’ on the other features.