Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Syllable Structure Diagrams

Counting the number of syllables in a word is something most people learn to do in elementary school. What many people do not think about when it comes to syllables, however, is that syllables have an internal structure. What this means is that syllables can be divided into smaller parts. Following are two syllable structure diagrams that will help explain.

The two main parts of a syllable are the onset and the rhyme (sometimes spelled rime). The rhyme is composed of a nucleus and an optional coda and is the part of a syllable that is used in poetry to form rhymes. The nucleus, as its name indicates, is the core part of a syllable and is always a vowel. Syllables can also appear without an onset; so the smallest possible syllable would be made up of a nucleus only.

In sum:
onset = optional start of syllable = Consonant
nucleus = mandatory core of syllable = Vowel
coda = optional end of syllable = Consonant
Example syllables:
Nucleus only: a
Onset and nucleus: la
Onset, nucleus and coda: lab
nucleus and coda: at


Carlos said...

That was very informative! I'd never heard that before. Thank you :-)

prihantoro2001@yahoo.com said...

very good. I have question if i may ask. What is the optimal syllable structure in English? I mean, the word 'strength' has CCCVCC structure. Since i am not a native speaker of english, i might be wrong. please correct me.

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