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[ sil-uh-buh l ]
/ ˈsɪl ə bəl /
an uninterrupted segment of speech consisting of a vowel sound, a diphthong, or a syllabic consonant, with or without preceding or following consonant sounds: “Eye,” “sty,” “act,” and “should” are English words of one syllable. “Eyelet,” “stifle,” “enact,” and “shouldn't” are two-syllable words.
one or more written letters or characters representing more or less exactly such an element of speech.
the slightest portion or amount of speech or writing; the least mention: Do not breathe a syllable of all this.
to utter in syllables; articulate.
to represent by syllables.
to utter syllables; speak.
Are There Any Words That Use “W” As A Vowel?A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y ... and W? Yes, the letter W can behave as a vowel. It's time to level up your Scrabble game, people. And, to all our grade-school peeps out there, get ready to knock the socks off your Spelling teacher.
click, consonant, liquid, phone, sonant, affricate, diphthong, fricative, implosive, plosive, sibilant, spirant, vocable
syllabicate, syllabicity, syllabify, syllabism, syllabize, syllable, syllable-timed, syllabogram, syllabography, syllabub, syllabus
1350–1400;Middle Englishsillable < Anglo-French;Middle Frenchsillabe < Latinsyllaba < Greeksyllabḗ, equivalent to syl-syl- + lab- (base of lambánein ‘to take’) + -ē noun suffix
Spoken English is very flexible in its syllable structure. A vowel sound can constitute a syllable by itself—like the e in unequal(un·e·qual) —or can be preceded by up to three consonant sounds (as in strong or splint ) and followed by up to four consonant sounds, as in tempts or sixths (which ends with the sounds k+s+th+s). But the English sound system is not without rules. Some combinations of consonant sounds, like p+k, can never occur within a syllable, and others can occur only at one end or the other. For example, the combination s+f can occur at the beginning of a syllable (as in sphere ) but not at the end, while the reverse sequence f+s can occur at the end (as in laughs ) but not at the beginning. The language does stretch occasionally to accommodate borrowings from other languages, as for words like schlep and tsar that can be said with an initial consonant cluster not native to English. And in a broad sense, even certain meaningful utterances composed exclusively of consonant sounds can be regarded as syllables. Examples include shh (urging silence) and psst (used to attract someone’s attention).
Breaking a written word into syllables—as in a dictionary entry, where the purpose is to clarify the structure of the word and assist in understanding and pronunciation, or in a book, for the purpose of end-of-line hyphenation—involves additional considerations. While based primarily on sound, the syllable divisions in spelled-out forms are also influenced by long-established spelling conventions, the etymology of the word, and the lack of an exact correspondence between spelling and pronunciation. For example, in writing, multisyllabic words with double consonants are conventionally divided between the consonants, even though the consonant is pronounced only once: sudden is divided as sud·den, though pronounced sudd ʹ n. But the word adding —formed by combining the word add with the suffix -ing, is divided as add·ing to show its constituent parts. And a word like exact (pronounced ig ʹ zakt) cannot be divided purely phonetically, because the letter x itself would have to be split; it is traditionally divided as ex·act. This means that even when divisions in the spelled form and the pronunciation do not match, they are both correct.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
But there is not one syllable in what he said that suggests the smallest amount of confusion.
How Mitt Romney Missed His Moment on Contraception|Michael Tomasky|March 2, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Without uttering a syllable, the page had advanced towards him, and had quickly raised the intoxicated man from the chair.
The Coming Conquest of England|August Niemann
The pair then proceeded some distance side by side without exchanging a syllable, and both seemed plunged in profound thought.
The Trail-Hunter|Gustave Aimard
We cannot promise one syllable from his eloquent lips, or even one glimpse at his dashing exterior.
Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846|Various
To subtract a syllable from such feet is impossible; since it is only the last syllable that is capable of being subtracted.
A Handbook of the English Language|Robert Gordon Latham
A good deal of the Signor's conversation resembles easy lessons in one syllable for beginners.
Happy-Thought Hall|F. C. Burnand
a combination or set of one or more units of sound in a language that must consist of a sonorous element (a sonant or vowel) and may or may not contain less sonorous elements (consonants or semivowels) flanking it on either or both sides: for example "paper" has two syllablesSee also open (def. 34b), closed (def. 6a)
(in the writing systems of certain languages, esp ancient ones) a symbol or set of symbols standing for a syllable
the least mention in speech or printdon't breathe a syllable of it
in words of one syllablesimply; bluntly
to pronounce syllables of (a text); articulate
(tr)to write down in syllables
C14: via Old French from Latin syllaba, from Greek sullabē, from sullambanein to collect together, from sul-syn- + lambanein to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
A basic unit of speech generally containing only one vowel sound. The word basic contains two syllables (ba-sic). The word generally contains four (gen-er-al-ly). (Seehyphen.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
see words of one syllable.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
There are some word stress rules about which syllable to stress. But the rules are All dictionaries give the phonetic spelling of a word. This is where they.
Pronunciations in the American English and Essential American English dictionary do not use the 'long vowel' marker /ː/ and, in place of the syllable division marker /./, they use a raised dot /·/.
|t ̬||/ˈbʌt ̬.ɚ/|
|l ̩||/ˈlɪt.l ̩/|
|əl, əm, ən can be pronounced either: əl or l ̩ etc.:|
|/ˈleɪb.əl/ = /ˈleɪb.əl/ or /ˈleɪb.l̩/|
|r || linking r is pronounced only before a vowel in British English:|
fɔːr + ˈæp.l ̩z = fɔːˈræp.l ̩z
four + apples = four apples
|ˈ||main stress||/ˌek.spekˈteɪ.ʃən/ expectation|
|ˌ||secondary stress||/ˌriːˈtell/ retell|
Knowing the way Latin words are divided into syllables will help you to pronounce Latin and translate Latin poetry. There are a few basic points you need to know. As with most things, there are always exceptions.
Rhymer is a rhyming dictionary that helps you find rhymes fast and easy. Words with last-syllable rhyme have the same sounds following the last syllable.
Why word stress is important
Mistakes in word stress are a common cause of misunderstanding in English. Here are the reasons why:
These three reasons tell me that word stress is an important part of the English language, and it is something I should help my students with.
What word stress is
When we stress syllables in words, we use a combination of different features. Experiment now with the word 'computer'. Say it out loud. Listen to yourself. The second syllable of the three is stressed. What are you doing so that the listener can hear that stress?
It is equally important to remember that the unstressed syllables of a word have the opposite features of a stressed syllable!
Some 'rules' of word stress
There are patterns in word stress in English but, as a rule (!), it is dangerous to say there are fixed rules. Exceptions can usually be found.
|Word||Type of word||Tendency||Exceptions|
two-syllable nouns and adjectives
|stress on the first syllable|
|words which can be used as both|
nouns and verbs
|the noun has stress on the first syllable|
"You are the suspect!"
the verb has stress on the second syllable
"I suspect you."
|compound nouns||fairly equally balanced but with stronger stress|
on the first part
How I help my students
Students can be alarmed when they meet words which are similar but have different stress patterns:
o O oo
O o o
o o o O o
A useful thing you can do is to help students see connections with other word families. Patterns can usually be found, for example:
O o final neutral
o O oo finality neutrality
O o o finalise neutralise
o o o O o finalisation neutralisation
There are some recognised differences in word stress which depend on the variety of English being used, for example:
o o O o Caribbean aluminium (British English)
|o O o o Caribbean aluminum (American English)|
These differences are noted in good learner dictionaries. If words like these come up in class, point them out to students. Ask if there are similar cases of differences in word stress in their own language - this will heighten awareness and interest.
In the classroom
|o o 0 computer||0 o o computer||o 0 o computer|
Then you can question students about their own names - this will give them a personalised connection to the issue of word stress, with a word they will never forget!
Any work on aspects of pronunciation can take a long time to show improvements and be challenging for both the students and the teacher, but working on word stress can be fun and over time will help your students to be better understood and more confident speakers.
Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill
Pronunciation by Dalton and Seidlholfer
How to Teach Pronunciation by Gerald Kelly
Teaching English Pronunciation by Joanne Kenworthy
Word stress is especially hard for non-native speakers to master. While there are a few conventions and general rules governing which syllable is stressed in a.