English Phonology and Syllable Structure

Classified in English

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One syllable but three phonemes. Onset K peak ae coda t peak is necessary and always a vowel.


Without coda ʃi:


Onset tr, peak, u:

1 syllable vowel Word without onset: At, owl.

Syllable boundaries:

funny /’fʌnI it can be fʌ/nI or fVn/I

Syllabic consonants:

sudden: sʌdn con una rallita debajo de la n: diacritic


ˈbɒt·l con una rallita en la l. Some consonants can be considered a vowel, the sua for example in sudden.

Elision and compression:

Elision of schwa /sua /: consonant + sua + /n, r, l/ + unstressed syllable history, gardening, novelist.

All lexical words are stressed: nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs

Non lexical words (functional words): prepositions, articles, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs.

Exception (peak):

bottle: this syllable doesn't have a vowel. Syllabic consonant. Works as a vowel.

What is an accented syllable:

Pitch higher, longer and louder.

Primary stress: weak syllables (I, U y sua)

Secondary stress: diphthongs, long vowels y resto.


"Fire": /faɪər/ -> /faər/

"Shower": /ʃaʊər/ -> /ʃaər

Stress-timed rhythm

Example Chinese vs. Chinese restaurant. Words in connected speech Weak forms Lexical words generally have in connected speech the same accent as their isolate form. However, most English functional words: - have one strong form when prominent: in isolation of for emphasis of some kind - have one or more weak forms which will always be unaccented or non-prominent and which are the most frequent and natural pronunciation of these words

Assimilation of place:

/ bad girl / b æ d g: l / -------- /b a g g: l / ten pens / t e n p e n z / ------ /t e m p e n z / ten keys / t e n k i: z / --------/t e k i: z /

Assimilation of manner:

Nasalization (informal speech) /d + n = n / he wouldn't do it ---- / h 'w u d n t d u: t /------/ h 'w u n n d u: t / /d + n + g = / he wouldn't go -- / h 'w d n t g /-----/ h 'w g / /d + m = m/ good morning ------- /g u d 'm : n


When two sounds merge to become a new sound we speak of a type of assimilation called coalescence. In English it occurs with the alveolar plosives /t, d/ followed by a platal approximant /j/ to become post-alveolar affricates / ts, d/. Don't you /dount ju/ --- /doun tsu/ Would you /wud ju/ --- /wu du/


When a vowel is elided, it is usually a weak vowel, typically the schwa. When a consonant is elided, it is usually because it's in an environment with other consonants. Main elision in RP: - Alveolar plosive: when an alveolar plosive is in the coda of the syllable, preceded by a consonant of the same voicing and followed by a consonant other than /h/ last man --- / l : s t 'm æ n / --- / l : s ' m æ n / locked door --- / l k t 'd : / --- / l k 'd :


Link words together. This often happens when two vowels occur next to each other across word boundaries.

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