Syllable Division

2737 Words Nov 23rd, 2006 11 Pages
A BRIEF STUDY ON SYLLABLE DIVISION: HELPING EFL LEARNERS

Abstract: This article will present some considerations on syllable division in order to help EFL learners. Some theories will be presented so that it is possible to check the various studies on such important topic. A scheme about separating the syllables will be shown and a topic on ambisyllabicity as well.
Key-Words: Syllable Division. Theories. Syllable Structure Introduction
The syllable is a basic unit of speech studied on both the phonetic and phonological levels of analysis. For learners of English as a foreign language it is such a hard task to define and identify what a syllable is, even because there are no universally agreed upon phonetic definitions of what it is. So
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The disyllabic word painting /ˈpeɪntɪŋ/ has been plotted onto the sonority scale as an example.

↑ vowels • • more sonorous approximants nasals • • less sonorous fricatives affricates
↓ plosives • • p eɪ n t ɪ ŋ → linear sequence of phonemes → As can be seen from the chart, there are two peaks of sonority in the phoneme string /p-eɪ-n-t-ɪ-ŋ/, namely the vowels /eɪ ɪ/. This is to indicate that the number of syllables is two as well. However, the sonority scale, like all the approaches outlined above, is of little help when it comes to delimiting separate syllables.
Syllable structure
Hierarchical Structure of the Syllable
Most of modern phonological theories agree that the syllable has constituent or hierarchical rather than linear structure. The syllable (conventionally marked as small Greek sigma: σ) has two immediate constituents (it "branches" into two elements, to put it in another way) – the Onset (O), which includes any consonants that precede the nuclear element (the vowel), and the Rhyme (R), which includes the nuclear element (the vowel) as well as any marginal elements (consonants) that might follow it. The Rhyme, in turn, branches into Peak (P), also known as Nucleus (N), and Coda (Co). The Peak (Nucleus), as the designation suggests, represents the "nuclear" or most sonorous
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