The syllabic structure in English
1. Theories on syllable formal ion and division.
2. The structure and functions of syllables in English 1. Theories on syllable formation and division
Speech can be broken into minimal pronounceable units into which sounds show a tendency to cluster or group. These smallest phonetic groups arc generally given the name of syllables. Being the smallest pronounceable units, syllables form morphemes, words and phrases. Each of these units is characterized by a certain syllabic structure. Thus a meaningful language unit phonetically may be considered from the point of view of syllable formation and syllable division. The syllable is a complicated phenomenon and like a phoneme it can be studied on four levels - articulatory, acoustic, auditory and functional. The complexity of the phenomenon gave rise to many theories. We could start with the so-called expiratory (chest pulse or pressure) theory by R.H. Stetson. This theory is based on the assumption that expiration in speech is a pulsating process and each syllable should correspond to a single expiration. So the number of syllables in an utterance is determined by the number of expirations made in the production of the utterance. This theory was strongly criticized by Russian and foreign linguists. G.P. Torsuyev, for example, wrote that in a phrase a number of words and consequently a number of syllables can be pronounced with a single expiration. This fact makes the validity of the theory doubtful. Another theory of syllable put forward by O. Jespersen is generally called the sonority theory. According to O. Jespersen, each sound is characterized by a certain degree of sonority which is understood us acoustic property of a sound that determines its perceptibility. According to this sound property a ranking of speech sounds could be established: voiceless plosives ( voiced fricatives (voiced plosives ( voiced...
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