what is a syllable

what is a syllable, Language Skills Abroad
The number of times you hear a vowel (a, e, i , o, u) in a word is equal to the number of syllables a word has. A good way to identify syllables is to think about whether you need to change your mouth shape to say the next bit of the word / the new syllable.
A syllable is a single, unbroken sound of a spoken (or written) word. Syllables usually contain a vowel and accompanying consonants. Sometimes syllables are referred to as the ‘beats’ of spoken language.

An open syllable ends with a single vowel. The vowel has a long sound.
Here is a list of two-syllable words:

  • able, alive, apple, away, better, broken, city, country, daily, early, easy, even, evil, fifty, forward, freedom, future, happy, human, hungry, joyful, language, little, loving, lucky, many, music, nature, office, open, other, over, party, perfect, picture, public, pumpkin, safe, simple, solid, special, stupid, sugar, thirsty, ugly, welcome, woman

These words are described as “disyllabic” or “dissyllabic” (avoid “bisyllabic”).

what is a syllable, Language Skills Abroad
A syllable is one or more letters representing a unit of spoken language consisting of a single uninterrupted sound. Adjective: syllabic.
“A syllable is a peak of prominence in the chain of utterance. If you could measure the acoustic power output of a speaker as it varies with time, you would find that it goes continually up and down, forming little peaks and valleys: the peaks are syllables. The words lair and here form only one peak each, and so only one syllable, whereas the words player and newer are usually pronounced with two peaks and so contain two syllables. It is thus desirable to distinguish between a diphthong (which is one syllable) and a sequence of two vowels (which is two syllables).”
(Charles Barber, The English Language: A Historical Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2000)

what is a syllable, Language Skills Abroad
More than 80% of words in English have more than one syllable. It is much easier to read a new, unfamiliar word in chunks than to try to sound out all the letters in one long, continuous string. This is because we need to hold onto the sounds in short term memory as we blend the word together before we can recognise it. Chunks are easier to hold on to than lots of small bits of information. It is easier and more accurate to spell a long word if you try to spell it in chunks of syllables rather than trying to remember all the letters separately. This skill is especially important for children who struggle with reading and spelling.
You can often find the syllables in a word if you notice when you open and close your mouth as you pronounce the word. Touch your chin as you say the word ‘elephant’. How many times did your chin drop? You probably pronounced the syllables like this: ‘e-le-phant’ and your chin would have dropped three times.

Fire has only 1 syllable.
How Many Syllables, Syllable Dictionary, and Syllable Counter Workshop are all
of How Many Syllables.

what is a syllable, Language Skills Abroad
What is a closed syllable? A closed syllable is a syllable that has only one vowel and only one vowel sound. A closed syllable ends in a consonant.
New vowels sounds create new syllables.

Definition of syllable (Entry 2 of 2)
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There are six syllable types that form the pronounceable unit of a word.
A syllable is a unit of spoken language that always contains a vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y). In fact, a syllable is a word or part of a word with a vowel sound. Breaking words into syllables is an important skill that assists when decoding unfamiliar words.

what is a syllable, Language Skills Abroad
Origin of syllable
Middle English sillable from Anglo-Norman alteration of Old French sillabe from Latin syllaba from Greek sullabē from sullabein second aorist of sullambanein to combine in pronunciation sun- syn- lambanein to take

1 A unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; for example, there are two syllables in water and three in inferno.
Pronounce (a word or phrase) clearly, syllable by syllable.