Table of contents


this article come from here mainly. I amended (added, highlighted, removed, commented)some content for my study propose.


Syllables have internal structure: they can be divided into parts. The parts are onset and rhyme; within the rhyme we find the nucleus and coda. Not all syllables have all parts; the smallest possible syllable contains a nucleus only. A syllable may or may not have an onset and a coda.

Onset: the beginning sounds of the syllable; the ones preceding the nucleus. These are always consonants in English. The nucleus is a vowel in most cases, although the consonants [ r ], [ l ], [ m ], [ n ], and the velar nasal (the ‘ng’ sound) can also be the nucleus of a syllable.

Rhyme (or rime): the rest of the syllable, after the onset (the underlined portions of the words above). The rhyme can also be divided up:

Rhyme = nucleus + coda

The nucleus, as the term suggests, is the core or essential part of a syllable. A nucleus must be present in order for a syllable to be present. Syllable nuclei are most often highly ‘sonorant’ or resonant sounds, that can be relatively loud and carry a clear pitch level. In English and most other languages, most syllable nuclei are vowels. In English, in certain cases, the liquids [ l r ] and nasals [ m n ] and the velar nasal usually spelled ‘ng’ can also be syllable nuclei.\  

The syllable structure analysis of the words ‘read’, ‘flop’,  ‘strap’ and ‘window’ are as follows (IPA symbols are used to show the sounds in the word/syllable):

read = one syllable
Onset = [ r ]
Rhyme = [ id ]      (within the rhyme:)
     Nucleus = [ i ]
     Coda   = [ d ]

flop = one syllable
Onset = [ f l ]
Rhyme  = [ a p ]
    Nucleus  =  [ a ]
    Coda  =  [ p ]

window = 2 syllables

First syllable:  [wIn]
Onset  = [ w ]
Rhyme  = [ I n ]
    Nucleus = [ I ]
    Coda  = [ n ]

Second syllable: [ d o ]
Onset = [ d ]
Rhyme = [ o ]
    Nucleus = [ o ]
(This syllable has no coda)


Parts Description Optionality ———– —————————————————————— ————- Onset Initial segment of a syllable Optional Rhyme Core of a syllable, consisting of a nucleus and coda (see below) Obligatory – Nucleus Central segment of a syllable Obligatory – Coda Closing segment of a syllable Optional


In the following words, the onset is in bold; the rhyme is underlined.

read \ flop \ strap \

If a word contains more than one syllable, each syllable will have the usual syllable parts:

win.dow \ \ pre.pos.te.rous \

onset 可能是一至多個子音字母組成

<box left 45% round green>

    /     \
    O      R
   / \     /  \
  |   |    N   C
  |   |    |   |
[ f   l    a   p ]

</box> <box right 45% round green>

  • ‘S’ = ‘syllable’
  • ‘O’ = ‘onset’;
  • ‘R’ = ‘rhyme’;
  • ‘N’ = ‘nucleus’;
  • ‘C’ = ‘coda’.


r l m n

The English liquids [ r l ] and the nasals [ m n ] can be the nuclei of syllables under certain conditions. [ r ] can be a nucleus as easily as a vowel, in any position: the words ‘bird’, ‘word’, ‘her’, ‘fur’, the first syllable of ‘perceive’ and ‘surname’ and the final syllables of ‘mother’, ‘actor’ (in casual pronunciation) all have [ r ] as the nucleus; in other words, there is no vowel in the pronunciation of these syllables, even though they have one in the spelling.

[ l ] and the nasals [ m n ] become syllable nuclei when they follow an alveolar consonant in the last syllable of a word. This happens in the relaxed or casual rather than very formal articulation of the word. Compare casual vs. formal pronunciations of ‘button’, ‘bottle’, ‘bottom’.

When one of these sounds is a syllable nucleus, this is shown in transcription by putting a very short vertical line under the IPA symbol

alveolar consonant:齒槽音? 看得懂才有鬼

Counting Syllables

To find the number of syllables in a word, use the following steps:

  1. Count the vowels in the word.
  2. Subtract any silent vowels, (like the silent e at the end of a word, or the second vowel when two vowels are together in a syllabl.e)
  3. Subtract one vowel from every diphthong (diphthongs only count as one vowel sound.)
  4. The number of vowels sounds left is the same as the number of syllables.

The number of syllables that you hear when you pronounce a word is the same as the number of vowels sounds heard. For example:

  • The word came has 2 vowels, but the e is silent, leaving one vowel sound andone syllable.
  • The word outside has 4 vowels, but the e is silent and the ou is a diphthong which counts as only one sound, so this word has only two vowel sounds and therefore, two syllables.

Six Kinds of Syllables

There are six different kinds of syllables in English:

Uinsg the anacronym C.L.O.V.E.R for the 6 main rules.


C–cvc/–Closed syllables have a short vowel with 1 to 3 consonants following it. “When a vowel is closed by a consonant door, it says its short sound.” Examples are: rob/in, cab/in, nap/kin, kit/ten, hun/dred.


L–/cLE–Consonant LE syllables are found at the end of a word and are divided before the consonant that comes before the LE. Use a silly phrase that helps to remember this rule: ”-le in little BEFORE the BEFORE.” Examples are: no/ble, jun/gle, mar/ble


O–cv/–Open syllables have a vowel hanging open at the end of a syllable. The vowel usually has a long sound. “When a vowel is left open, it says its own name.” Examples are: mo/ment, va/ca/tion.

V–cvvc/ or cv/vc

V–cvvc/ or cv/vc–Double vowels can be a usual digraph, such as ai, ay, ea, ee, oa, ow, oo, oi, oy, ou, ie, and ei, which is not divided and the first vowel has a long sound. Double vowels that are not a usual combination, such as ia or eu, can be divided between the two vowels to make a multisyllable word, such as di-al or mu-se-um.


E–cvce–Silent e syllables can come in the middle of a word, but are usually found at the end of a word. Often the vowel preceding the silent e has a long sound, although no English word ends with the letter v, so a silent e that follows the “v” may or may not affect the preceding vowel. Examples are: in/vite, home/sick, in/ten/sive.


R–cvr–R-controlled syllables have a vowel followed by an r and can be found in any syllable of a word. While ar and or have distinctive sounds, any vowel followed by an r can be pronounced /ur/. Examples are: car/pet, fur/ther/more, thir/sty.

I usually take a lesson or two to introduce the concept of syllable division and give an overview of the syllable types. Then I teach in-depth and have students practice each rule until mastered and automatic, both in reading and spelling. I usually use the following sequence for the in-depth practice–Compounds; Closed; Introduce or review common suffixes, such as -ed, -ing, -tion, -ness, -ment; Silent e; Open; Consonant-LE; R-Controlled; and Double Vowels.

Dividing Words Into Syllables

Divide between two middle consonants.

Split up words that have two middle consonants, unless the doubled consonant is part of a syllable that is a base word. Then try the short sound for the vowel in the first syllable. This rule does not apply if the two consonants form a digraph such as ch, tch, ph, sh, or th. The digraphs can’t be separated.

For example:

hap/pen, bas/ket, let/ter, sup/per, din/ner, and Den/nis. The only exceptions are the consonant digraphs. Never split up consonant digraphs as they really represent only one sound. The exceptions are “th”, “sh”, “ph”, “th”, “ch”, and “wh”.


tell is a base word.

Usually divide before a single middle consonant.

When there is only one syllable, you usually divide in front of it, as in:

“o/pen”, “i/tem”, “e/vil”, and “re/port”. The only exceptions are those times when the first syllable has an obvious short sound, as in “cab/in”.

When only one consonant appears between two vowels, divide the word before the consonant. The try the long sound of the first vowel. This works about 55% of the time. If a recognizable word is not formed using the long sound, divide the word after the con-sonant and try the short sound for the first syllable. This works about 45% of the time.

Divide off any compound words, prefixes, suffixes and roots which have vowel sounds.

Split off the parts of compound words like “sports/car” and “house/boat”. Divide off prefixes such at “un/happy”, “pre/paid”, or “re/write”. Also divide off suffixes as in the words “farm/er”, “teach/er”, “hope/less” and “care/ful”. In the word “stop/ping”, the suffix is actually ”-ping” because this word follows the rule that when you add ”-ing” to a word with one syllable, you double the last consonant and add the ”-ing”.

For example: dis-arm, an-ti-dote, ship-ment, hope-ful-ly, mand-a-ble….

Exceptions: Sometimes, if the suffix starts with a vowel, a letter or two from the base word goes with the suffix:fa-mouns, cu-bic, won-drous.

Endings such as ing, er, est, and ed often form separate syllables. The remaining portion of the word is a root word. the suffix is ”-er”, ”-ed” or “ing”, this only happens if you have doubled the consonant when adding the suffix, e.g: hop-ing, miss-ing BUT hop-ping

Keep the “r”-control vowels (ar, er, ir, or, and ur) in the same syllable.

Keep the consonant-“le” sounds (ble, cle, dle, fle, gle, and ple) in the same syllable.

These syllables have the schwa sound between the consonant and the “le”. The schwa sound sounds like a nasal short u.

For example, cra-dle.

Never break apart vowel diagraphs or diphthongs such as ai, ay, ea, ee, oa, ow, oo, oi, oy, ou, ie, and ei.

Unbreaking parts : ai, ay, ea, ee, oa, ow, oo, oi, oy, ou, ie, and ei

But NOT includes : ia,eu

分音節(Divide the syllables):

要訣:從字尾往字首找,在每個母音之前找一個子音,在此子音前斷開。 範例:su -per -mar-ket in -ter -na -ti –on –nal na-me


標重音(Put the stress)

author : 肥豆老爹說說話


  • 單音節單字,唯一母音即重音。
  • 雙音節單字:
    1. 若是「動詞/介系詞」或「動詞衍生字」,則重音大多在「第二音節」。
    2. 若是「名詞/形容詞/副詞/連接詞」,則重音大多在「第一音節」。
    3. 例外字則單獨記憶,其數量很少。

e.g. de’sert(n)-點心、un’happy(a)-不快樂的、cor’rect(a)-正確的。

  • 三音節以上單字:
    1. 若是「希臘式拼音」,則重音大多在「倒數第三音節」;英文大多數是這樣的字。
    2. 若是「羅馬/拉丁式拼音」,則重音大多在「倒數第二音節」;少數「外來語」是這樣的字。



con-ver-‘sa-ti-on \ u-ni-‘ver-si-ty \ trans-‘la-ti-on \ ‘te-le-phone \


ba-‘na-na \ Mi-‘a-mi \ To-‘ran-to \ e-lec-‘tro-nic \ Mer-‘cu-ry \ A-‘pol-lo \





hat \ bed \ guess \ quick \ mop



at-‘tack \ at-‘tack-tive \ at-‘tac-king \ de-‘part-ment


‘Cha-os \ ‘hap-py \ ‘may-be \ ‘af-ter \ ‘there-fore




‘na -ti-on \ ‘bad-min-ton \ Ca-li-‘for-ni-a \ phi-‘lo-so-phy

the words that is not easy apply to rule at first sight

bach⋅e⋅lor 為什麼常會常到斷音節只斷在e





因為x通常會被放在音節後,而不是之前,比如說 ex⋅am⋅ple


為什麼是gro⋅cer⋅y而不是gro⋅ce⋅ry\ 因為r control的,所以er不可分割


ret⋅ro⋅spect → 這樣斷的話,ret的e發短母音/ɛ/ → 正確的發音\ re⋅tro⋅spect → 這樣斷的話,ret的e發長母音/i/ → 不正確的發音




how syllables are separated and pronounced?

from keit:

Hello everyone, Well, I am currently learning about the pronunciation of english words by looking them up in the dictionary. The thing that still confuse me is that how to separate the syllables in a word. For example, ‘temperature’ do you pronounce it as tem-puh-ruh-chuh or tem-puhr-uh-chuh. ‘January’ do you pronounce it as Jan-u-eh-re or Jan-nu-eh-re. Thanks for your help.

from Buddhaheart\ Kiet has touched on a very controversial and challenging aspect of linguistics called phonology. In contemporary linguistics many theories are still being considered, constructed and developed. This is definitely not for beginners of English.\ \ To answer Kiet’s query, the first question you have to ask youself is what a syllable is. There are as many theories (Sonority Principle, Chest\ Pulse Formation & so on) as questions. It seems there is no one definition that all phoneticians or phonologists could agree on.\ \ The second question is how a multi-syllable word is phonologically divided into its components. Although there’re many general rules we teach students how to do that, there’re just as many exceptions. Syllabification seems to be a taunting task.\ \ We then have to talk about MOP (Maximal Onsets Theory or Principle). English phonotactics, phonological rules, epenthesis, ambisyllabicity, the concept of the “privilege of occurrence”. silent ‘e’ syllable and so on.\ \ Some of the respondents have offered many practical suggestions and help. I hereby offer mine from my own perspective.\ \ We’ll just look at the word “temperature” only as an example. Just by counting the number of vowels or semi-vowels in the word “temperature”, we think we have a 5 or less syllabic word. If you recognize the fact that the last 4 letters (ture) in the word make it a WR-ME (Vowel R-Magic- E) syllable type, you know the ‘e’ is silent. We therefore left with 4 syllables.\ \ Invoking a general phonological rule of splitting syllables between 2 consecutive consonants, we arrive at the 1st tentative syllable, namely “tem”. Relying on the MOP, we will pair the 2nd ‘e’ with ‘p’, the ‘a’ with ‘r’ and hence we arrive at “tem-pe-ra-ture”. Using your terminology, we will transcribe the word as “tem-puh-ruh-chuh”. This is your 1st version I think. I’m not sure about the ‘u’ sound though.\ \ Invoking the concept of the “privilege of occurrence”, the vowel letter ‘a’ in the word can stand alone as a syllable. This syllable is uttered with a schwa sound as it is not stressed. The 2nd syllable becomes ‘per’ and this does not violate any phonotactics as the ‘er’ may be pronounced as a rhotic schwa. We now arrive at the word’s syllabification as “tem-per-a-ture.” This is similar to your 2nd version.\ \ So what is the verdict? I believe both versions are acceptable as they do appear in various dictionaries we use here. I personally favor the 2nd.\



 作者  pobo (全新的生活)                                      看板  Eng-Class
 標題  [發音] 音節的用法
 時間  Thu Nov 30 08:02:23 2006

: 請問一下音節的定義是什麼?
: 還有音節的發音,例如:dragon是兩個音節drag-on
: 不看發音我會念(死背的),但是要如何根據音節來發音呢?
: dragon發音是"追根",但是我根據音節卻是發"追格盎"為什麼會這樣呢?
: 說來慚愧我真的對音節一點概念也沒有,懇請各位板友不吝賜教
: 謝謝.
「音節」(syllable)跟「音標(符號)」(phonic symbol/alphabet)是不同的。