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Questions tagged [syllables]

A unit of pronunciation having one vowel (or vowel-equivalent) sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word.

33
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6answers
27k views

How many syllables are in the word 'hour'?

Does the word 'hour' have 1 or 2 syllables?
23
votes
4answers
293k views

Conundrum: “cleverer” or “more clever”, “simpler” or “more simple” etc

I know the rule for making the comparative and superlative form for two-syllable words ending in y, replace the -y with i and use -er and -est: hap.py → happier → (the) happiest ti.dy → tidier → (...
15
votes
3answers
18k views

How many syllables are there in the word “fire”?

We were making up Haiku, and there was some disagreement about the number of syllables in "fire." Now granted Haiku isn't technically about syllables (see on), so technically it was a meaningless ...
14
votes
6answers
17k views

When is “marked” pronounced with 2 syllables?

I have heard "marked" pronounced with 2 syllables, like "mar-ked": http://forvo.com/word/marked_(adj_-_distinctive_character) but online dictionaries show only the 1-syllable pronunciation. When ...
11
votes
8answers
6k views

What's the longest monosyllabic word? And disyllabic?

Another question on the site made me take notice that through is monosyllabic, but quite long. Are there longer monosyllabic words? What's the longest disyllabic word in English? Edit: so, Wikipedia ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do English men's names almost always stress the first syllable?

While looking at names of American Presidents I noticed that English men’s names almost always stress the first syllable. Barack Obama is unusual in that he’s only the second President (after ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Pronouncing the “N” as separate syllable at the end of words like “known” and “pattern”

Over time, I have heard people pronounce the "n" on words like "known" (NO-en) and "pattern" (PAT-r-en), as though it were a separate syllable. The instances of my hearing such have been rare ones, ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

Are there any other English syllables without vowels, besides “thm”?

As far as I knew*, all English syllables have a vowel sound and all of them are spelled accordingly, except for "thm" as in rhythm and algorithm. Are there any others? And are there any etymological ...
9
votes
4answers
35k views

Syllable division of VCV pattern in words such as “salad” and “lemon”

In words such as salad /sæləd/, you have a VCV pattern (vowel-consonant-vowel), in which the first vowel is short. The syllable division of such words is generally done after the consonant, i.e, as VC-...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Are -èd adjectives still usèd words?

The distinction between the words blessèd (/ˈblɛsəd/) and blessed (/blɛst/) (see Grammarbook) appears to be wearing thin in modern language, possibly due to reduced accent usage and its resultant lack ...
8
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4answers
30k views

Is there a list of syllables contained in US English?

I'm trying to find a list of all syllables (ideally just syllables that appear at the start of words in english). Any suggestions?
8
votes
1answer
178 views

In English, can a whole syllable be aspirated?

Living in Merseyside, I've noticed a phonetic oddity that I can't find described anywhere [I did a Web search and found a transcript of Liverpool speech on a Liverpool University site, but no mention ...
7
votes
5answers
15k views

What's the correct pronunciation of “Israel”?

From Google I have gathered there are several ways for pronounce Israel, I have pronounced it is-rye-el. From googling it some seem to indicate it acceptable and another says it is vulgar and should ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How many syllables in the -ism suffix?

How do you commonly syllabicate words that end with -ism? When I pronounce -ism, it sounds like two syllables, (feudalism sounds like 4 syllables, racism sounds like 3 syllables), but in general, a ...
6
votes
1answer
680 views

How can I determine the proper stressing of words?

I am working on a sonnet. This pretty much mandates the use of iambic pentameter and therefore requires that I have a good grip on emphasis. However, I'm not exactly sure how to properly research ...
6
votes
2answers
689 views

Is a syllable defined phonetically or etymologically?

Reading recent postings about syllables I've been struck and baffled by talk of the possibility that words may have a different number of syllables when they are written than when they are spoken. Is ...
5
votes
5answers
11k views

Does English really have triphthongs?

Does English really have triphthongs? EDIT/TDLR: It appears that quite a few people have misunderstood this question. In a nutshell, it is asking why many sources, even scholarly ones, claim that the ...
5
votes
1answer
918 views

First syllable of “gravity”

Is "gravity" pronounced /'græ.vɪ.ti/ or /'græv.ɪ.ti/? I had always assumed that it was the former, but the latter is shown in most dictionaries. Is there variation between accents?
5
votes
5answers
11k views

What are the syllabification rules for English?

I am trying to break a word down into syllables and am not quite sure how to do it for English. Some problems I face: The letter-to-sound rules are not one-to-one. As an example, notice that z"ea"l ...
5
votes
2answers
370 views

Are you googlable?

The search engine Google was launched in 1998 and on that same year, the term googling was first used. The verb “to google” earned its official status in the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

How does one find a word with a rhyming middle syllable?

In conversation today I wanted to find a set of words that have an "or" sound in their middles, as in "torrent" and "sorcerer". I couldn't find one. Most rhyming dictionaries I found only concerned ...
4
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3answers
3k views

How many monosyllabic words does English have? (estimations are fine)

I'm writing a post about word length in various languages in the world. It seems that English have (relatively) a lot of one-syllable words. Is there a count or an estimate of how many one-syllable ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

How many syllables does “orange” have, and what regional dialects show a difference in that number?

It seems whenever orange is spoken, it is spoken as one syllable. But it appears to be two. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary transcribes the pronunciation of orange as follows: \ˈär-inj, ˈär(-...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Should “ohmmeter” be stressed on the first or second syllables, or both?

Question: Which syllable or syllables are stressed in the word ohmmeter? Context: I tried to say the word ohmmeter out loud today and realized I am unsure of the correct pronunciation. The double m ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Same words with different syllabification

I am Italian and I need to split English words into syllables for suprasegmental phonetic analysis. I'm noticing that the Longman Online Dictionary http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/ gives ...
4
votes
1answer
349 views

Hyphenation of the word “interferometer” in British English

How is the word "interferometer" correctly split at the end of a line in British English, i.e. what is the correct syllabification? I found two contradicting syllabifications: "in·ter·fer·om·e·ter" ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

Does 'rhythm' have one or two syllables? [duplicate]

Does the word 'rhythm' have one or two syllables? I'm wondering if there are any reasons for or against a sound-based argument vs a written-based argument.
3
votes
4answers
4k views

How many syllables does “Science” have?

The pronunciation of the word science seems to vary based on which part of the world you're in. I have heard it pronounced "sai-ens" and "saains" (think "signs"). I have checked the dictionary, but ...
3
votes
1answer
11k views

What is the name of a verse consisting of 7 syllables?

What is the name of a verse consisting of 7 syllables? I thought it was caled a heptameter, but that seems to be something different. Example: I like chocolate cake with pears.
3
votes
2answers
157 views

I can't find a single word that starts with the “Sa” sound in “saga”

I've read every word starting with "SA" in my dictionary out loud. It's driving me crazy thinking there is only a single English word starting with what appears to be such a common syllable. Is it ...
3
votes
1answer
548 views

What's the longest word that has survived from Old English?

I recently saw this question Did the "We shall fight on the beaches" speech mainly use words from Old English? If so, why? about Winston Churchill's famous "Fight them on the beaches" speech ...
3
votes
2answers
767 views

How many syllables BrE and AmE regarding the word 'secretary'?

I am from Germany and I am having a question regarding the pronunciation of AmE and BrE. I have a book and the text there says that there is a two syllable-pronunciation in BrE R.P. of the word ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What are some synonyms for “mindbody” or “psychosomatic”?

I'm open to synonyms for "mindbody" either as a noun (the combination of mind and body as one unit) or as an adjective (e.g. "psychosomatic" or "psychogenic"). But I can't have "psycho" in the term ...
3
votes
2answers
312 views

syllables and pronunciation

The word exercise has 3 syllables and divided as ex-er-cise. In teaching pronunciation can I divide it as ek-ser-cise since the letter x is the sound of ks together? It seems to make more sense.
3
votes
2answers
781 views

Number of syllables in “liar”, “prior”

It seems that there are two syllables in "liar" (li·ar) because it is made up of a stem "lie" plus the suffix "ar". But what about "prior" (pri·or)? Does it have something to do with the ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Syllable Count for Apparent Monosyllabic Words

How many syllables are there in "child," "wild," and field"? If we look at the dictionary, it will tell us that these are monosyllabic words. There appear, however, to be diphthongs in each of these ...
3
votes
0answers
407 views

Spelling of one syllable changes pronunciation of another [closed]

I've been fascinated by word pronunciations where changing the spelling of one syllable doesn't change its pronunciation, but rather changes another syllable in the word. The only two examples I can ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the logic behind finding out the primary stress on syllable in the given word?

For example, the word co·a·li·tion has its primary stress on the third syllable. Therefore, on which syllable does the word el·e·phant have its primary stress?
2
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6answers
1k views

Polysyllabic Words

Can you list a few polysyllabic words that only have one vowel (not including y, since it is viewed as a vowel in some words)?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How many syllables are in the English language?

I looked it up and most forums link to http://semarch.linguistics.fas.nyu.edu/barker/Syllables/index.txt, an NYU site that no longer works. I would like to know how many unique syllables are used in ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Do all syllables belong to open syllable or closed syllable?

Is there any other category for a syllable which is neither an open nor closed syllable?
2
votes
4answers
106 views

English minimal pair words by syllabification [closed]

Are there English minimal pairs created by different syllabification, specifically of lexical words?
2
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3answers
1k views

Syllables and mora

I have recently discovered the linguistic term 'mora' as a subset of a syllable and am thinking through some examples. How would the word 'stretched' be analysed? Is it one syllable? And what are its ...
2
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the term that means to add an extra syllable to a word?

This situation is most noticeable when a singer adds a syllable to a word like "Fuh-ree" instead of "free" or "Buh-rave" instead of "brave". It's not Melisma, which is intentional by the writer.
2
votes
2answers
348 views

What is the phonetic term for consecutive sounded vowels?

I am interested for the term used when instances of two consecutive vowels sounds are in different syllables, such as: thrOUGHOUt, abbrevIAtion, immedIAte, barrIER, cOExist, promiscUIty, crEAte, ...
2
votes
2answers
155 views

Name for words that have 3 or more syllables?

A word with one syllable is "monosyllabic". Two syllables is "disyllabic", three is "trisyllabic", and so on. "Polysyllabic" refers to any word with more than one syllable. Is there any single term ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Why is the word “mimic” divided into syllables as mim-ic and not mi-mic [closed]

I would like to know why, when dividing the word mimic into its syllables, is it divided as "mim" and "ic" and not "mi" and "mic". Is there any rule to this?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning based on emphasis

Is there a term used to explain how some words change meaning based on the accent? For example, "convict" can be both a noun and a verb depending on which syllable is emphasized. The same is true for "...
2
votes
0answers
675 views

How to calculate number of syllables in a word using only the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) spelling?

I want to write an algorithm to calculate the number of syllables in a word. This process is an automated one that will be run on an entire dictionary so manually counting the number of breaths, chin ...
2
votes
0answers
30 views

Is the way of syllafibication certain? [duplicate]

How to syllabify may be certain in many words. But some words have several ways, I think. For example, "extra" can be divided into "ek" + "stra" and "eks" + "tra". Does this mean that people ...