Syllables | Learn English | British English Pronunciation

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What is a syllable?
/>A syllable is a unit in a sequence of sounds made when speaking.
For example, in the word dog we have one syllable, dog. Dog is a monosyllable. It is a monosyllabic word.
Other words with two syllables are disyllabic like the word English. En glish
Trisyllabic words have three syllables. Syllable is a trisyllabic word. Sy lla ble
Polysyllabic words have more than three syllables, but polysyllabic can also refer to any word with more than one syllable. Polysyllabic is a polysyllabic word. It has five syllables. Po lly sy lla bic
You can see that all syllables contain a vowel sound supported by consonants.
Most syllables have an onset which consists of one or more consonants. English allows some multiconsonant onsets. Your language may not.
The onset is followed by the nucleus. The nucleus is normally made up of the vowel, and the nucleus forms the peak of the syllable.
The smallest possible syllable consists only of the nucleus. The monosyllabic words eye and ear both have only a nucleus. eye /ɑɪ/ ear /ɪə/
The nucleus can be followed by a coda — this literally means tail.
A nucleus that is not followed by a coda is called an open or free syllable.
vowel, consonant vowel, consonant consonant vowel…
A nucleus that is followed by a coda is called a closed or checked syllable.
vowel consonant, consonant vowel consonant, consonant vowel consonant consonant…
English allows both closed and open syllables. Your own language probably does, too.
Though all syllables contain a vowel as their nucleus, the vowel may be a monophthong or a diphthong.
Remember that the monophthongs are the pure vowels and they are found in the top left part of the chart.
The word bed is monosyllabic because it contains just one syllable. It also has an onset, a nucleus and a coda.
The onset is the consonant sound /b/. The nucleus is the monophthong vowel /e/. The coda is the consonant sound /d/.
bed /bed/
As I said earlier, the diphthongs are found in the top right part of the chart.
The word bike is monosyllabic because it contains only one syllable. It has an onset, a nucleus and a coda.
The onset is the consonant sound /b/. The nucleus is the diphthong vowel /ɑɪ/. The coda is the consonant sound /k/.
bike /bɑɪk/
The word boy is monosyllabic because it contains only one syllable. It has an onset and a nucleus, but it does not have a coda.
The onset is the consonant sound /b/. The nucleus is the diphthong vowel /ɔɪ/. There is no coda.
boy /bɔɪ/ If you are serious about improving your English, then perfecting your accent should be an important part of the process. Visit my pronunciation website at http://soundsbritish.com where you can download free sample copies of my eBook, An Interactive British English IPA Chart, and the 2000+ question Practice Pack that goes with it. Invest in your future today. If you are serious about improving your English, then perfecting your accent should be an important part of the process. Visit my pronunciation website at http://soundsbritish.com where you can download free sample copies of my eBook, An Interactive British English IPA Chart, and the 2000+ question Practice Pack that goes with it. Invest in your future today.

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