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A syllable is the sound of a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) that is 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 a word has. According to Oxford dictionary 8th edition, syllable is define as any of the units into which is divided, containing a vowel sound and usually one or more consonants. Hence, when one reads a word containing 3 syllables for example telephone; he or she stops each time they pronounces a vowel sound.

For example; Telephone When read; Te/le/phone

Stops each time they pronounces a vowel sound

Many people can count how many syllables in a word and this is usually done with taping fingers to certain rhythm. In relation to that, there are some features of the English pronunciation that is usually noticed by English speakers, it is the strong and weak syllables. Strong syllable has a peak that is either a tense vowel (long vowel) or a coda. One important thing that must be taken into account is although strong syllable has its own peak but it will not have //, /i/, and //. In contrast, if the vowel is one of the //,/e/,//,//,// and //, they must have a coda. According to Peter Roach in his fourth edition English Phonetics and Phonology book, he stated that syllables in weak syllables tend to be shorter, of lower intensity (loudness) and different in quality. The clearer example can be seen in the vowel // or schwa as in the word better (/bet/), a close front unrounded vowel in the general area of i, , symbolised i; as in the word happy (/hpi/), and a close back rounded vowel in the general area of and as in the word thank you (/k j/).

The number of syllables in a word is easily counted and even the extremely long word like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious can be easily counted. However, some people do not think that syllables have an internal structure. This simply means that syllables can be divided into smaller parts which comprises of onset and rhyme and within the rhyme we can find the nucleus and coda.

A syllable may or may not have an onset and a coda. The onset which is the beginning sounds of the syllable is always consonants and the nucleus is a vowel although the consonants / r /, / l /, / m /, / n /, and // is the nucleus of the syllable.

In the following words, the onset is in red colour; the rest is underlined.

read flop strap

If a word contains more than one syllable, it will have the usual syllable parts:

win.dow pre.pos.te.rous

A rhyme comes after the onset and it comprises of nucleus and coda.

Rhyme = nucleus + coda

The nucleus is the essential part of a syllable and it must be present in order for a syllable to be present. Besides that, a vowel in the first syllable of the word indicates that the syllable has a zero onset and having a syllable that begins with two consonant is called as consonant cluster as in the word sting (/st/). The /s/ in the syllable is referred as pre-initial and the /t/ is referred as initial consonant.

One type is composed of s followed by one of a small set of constants. E.g : sting sti sway swei

The /s/ in these cluster is call the Pre-initial Consonant and the other consonant /t/,/w/,/m/ in the above examples are the initial consonants.

In relation to my point above, when there is no final consonant in a syllable, we referred that as zero coda and if there is one consonant, we referred that as final consonant. In addition, there

are two sorts of two consonant final clusters, one being a final consonant preceded by a prefinal and the second type is a final consonant followed by a post final consonant.

For example; Pre-final consonant Bump , / bmp/ The final consonant /p/ is preceded by the pre-final consonant /m/

Post Final consonant backed, / bkt/ The final consonant /k/ is followed by a post final consonant /t/

In conclusion, having some knowledge on syllable can be very helpful to second language learners of English as it has complex structure than any other language.