17.1 Breakdown the structure of the syllable
The structure of the syllable
A syllable is defined as a minimal pulse of initiatory activity bounded by a momentary
retardation of the initiator.
The phonological shape of the syllable
- Rhyme Onset
- Coda Nucleus
Open and closed syllables
Open – no termination i.e. no coda.
Closed – terminated by coda.
Complex and simple
Complex – more than one consonants sound in the onset or in the coda
Simple when the onset or coda has only one sound.
Syllable structure types
Based on the onset and coda
- V only = zero onset
- CV – onset
- VC – termination
- CVC – onset – termination
Restrictions of sounds that can occupy any of these syllable parts. – using rules or
phonotactics e.g. in English SPtk for the maximum number in the initial position r/l
The phonetic and phonological syllable
The syllable as a unit is posited at both the phonetic and phonological levels of analysis.
a) Phonetically – the syllable is a construct that is useful in explaining a number of co- ordinatory relations between segments e.g. the combinatory allophones.
b) Phonologically- the syllable acts as the domain of linguistically relevant prosodic properties such as pitch and stress. It gives the basis for organizing and expressing constraints on possible phoneme sequences e.g. the phonotatic rules.
The phonetic syllable is therefore, a framing concept. It makes it possible for one to show
a variety of co-ordinatory relationships with the contexts in which they are embedded.
These relationships involve phenomena in the control of speech production such as
articulation and phonation e.g. the devoicing process /r/ – pray – [ŗ]
This is a co-ordinatory relationship that involves the *** of voicing relative to that of
articulatory events. It reflects the interplay between – contextual factors and – options of
phonetic control. The devoicing process is an instance of inter- segmental co-ordination.
The phonological syllable is a complex unit, made up of a – nuclear elements and –
Nuclear elements, as phonological entities, are called vowels. The marginal elements are
called consonants. Phonetic segments that manifest nuclear elements of the phonological
syllable are called syllabic segments. Those that manifest marginal elements of the
phonological syllable are called syllabic segments. Those that manifest marginal
elements of the phonological syllable are called non-syllabic segments e.g. stops,
fricatives, lateral resonant. /k/ and /t/ in [kat] are non-syllabic. But /n/ in garden [gadņ] is
syllabic or /l/ in cattle [katļ]