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Lecture: 4. Weak Syllables and Strong Syllables. Syllable. A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter . . Syllables. Weak syllables. Strong syllables.

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weak syllables and strong syllables

Lecture: 4

Weak Syllables

and

Strong Syllables

syllable
Syllable
  • A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter.
syllables
Syllables

Weak syllables

Strong syllables

description of weak and strong syllables
Description of weak and strong syllables
  • We could describe them partly in terms of stress and/ or length.
weak syllables will have
Weak Syllables Will have…..

four types of center:

i) the vowel (" shwa")

ii) a close front unrounded vowel in the general area of i: and I

iii) a close back rounded vowel in the general area of u: and ʊ

iv) a syllabic consonant

close front and close back vowels
Close front and close back vowels

2

  • Two other vowels are commonly found in weak syllables, one close front ( in the general area of i: and i) and the other close back rounded ( in the general region of u: and ʊ).
close front and close back vowels7
Close front and close back vowels

2

  • In strong syllables it is easy to distinguish i: from i, u: from ʊ, but in weak syllables the difference is not so clear .
example
Example:

Easybusy

i) i:zi: bIzi:

ii) i:zI bIzI

close front and close back vowels9
Close front and close back vowels

2

  • The i vowel is neither the i: of (beat) nor the i of (bit), and is not in contrast with them.
  • The vowel u is neither the u: of (shoe) nor the ʊ of (book), and is not in contrast with them.
more examples
More Examples

i) In word-final position in words spelt with final “ y” or “ ey” ( after one or more consonant letters) e.g. “ happy / hæpi / valley /væli /

and in morpheme final position when such words have suffixes beginning with vowels,e.g. “ happier / hæpiə / easiest /i:ziəst / “ hurrying” / hʌriIŋ /

ii) In prefix such as those spelt “ re” , “ pre” , “ de” if is precedes a vowel and is unstressed,for example in react / riækt / preocupied /priɒkjəpaId/

deactivate /diæktIveIt /

iii) In suffixes spelt “ iate”, “ious” when they have two syllables, for example in “ appreciate”, “hilarious”

iv) In the following words when unstressed: “ he”, “ she” , “ we” “ me” , “ be” and the word “ the” when it precedes a vowel.

slide11

3

SYLLABIC CONSONANTS

what is a syllabic consonant
What is a Syllabic consonant?

A syllabic consonant is a consonant which forms a syllable of its own (a syllable that contains only a consonant and no vowel is found).

Examples:

  • button [bʌt̚n̩]
  • bottle [bɒtl̩]
  • acre [ˈeɪkr̩]
  • rhythm [ˈrɪðm̩].
slide13

ŋ̩

syllabic l
syllabic ‘l̩’

1- with alveolar consonant preceding:

cattle / kætl / bottle / bɒtl / muddle /mʌdl/

2- With non-alveolar consonant preceding:

Couple /k ʌ pl/ trouble/ trʌbl /

Knuckle /n ʌ kl/

slide15
Such words usually lose their final letter “ e” when a suffix is beginning with a vowel is attached, but the l usually remains syllabic.Thus:

Bottle-bottling /bɒtlIŋ/

Mudlle-muddling / mʌdlIŋ/

slide16
We find syllabic l in words spelt, at the end, with one or more consonant letters followed by ‘al’ or ‘el’, for example:
  • ‘panel’ /pænl/ papal / peIpl /
  • Petal / petl / parcel / pɑ:sl /
  • Kernel / k ɜ:nl/ Babel / beIbl /
  • Pedal / pedl / ducal /dju:kl /
slide17

  • Weak syllables which are composed of a polsive or a fricative consonant plus ənare uncommon except in initial position in the words.
  • Syllabic n̩is most common after alveolar plosives and affricatives.
  • Syllabic n̩ after non-alveolar consonants is not so widespread.
  • After f or v, syllabic n̩ is more common than ən except in word initial syllables; e.g seven / heaven
slide18

m̩ and ŋ̩

Both can occur as syllabic, but only as a result of processes such as assimilation and elision.

Examples:

  • Happen
  • thicken
slide19

  • It is less common in RP.
  • In many cases both syllabic and non-syllabic forms are acceptable.

Example:

History

combination of syllabic consonsnts
Combination of Syllabic Consonsnts:

It is very rare to have combinations of SC.

Examples:

  • National
  • Literal
  • visionary