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19. A syllable as a phonetic unit.

Though the basic phonological elements are phonemes, speech can be broken into minimal pronounceable units into which sounds show tendency to group themselves. These smallest phonetic groups are generally given the name of syllables. They form language units of greater magnitude, i.e. morphemes, words and phrases.

The syllable may be a single word (ex, chair, book), a part of a word (ex, mu-sic), a part of the gram. form of a word (ex, la-ter).

The syllable can be analyzed from the acoustic, auditory, articulatory and functional point of view. The syllable may be viewed in connection with its graphic representation.

ACOUSTICALLY AND AUDITORILLY syl. is characterised by the force of utterance, or accent, pitch of the voice, sonority, length, i.e. by prosodic features. Acoustic properties of syl. are studied with the help of intonograph and spectrograph. Auditorilly the syl. is the smallest unit of perception: the listener identifies the whole of the syl. and only after that the sounds contained.

The ARTICULATORY energy which constitutes the syllable results from the combined actions of the power resonator and abstracter mechanisms.

Phonologically the syl. is regarded and defined in terms of its structural and functional properties. Syl-s in writing are called syllabographs and are closely connected with the morphemic structure of words.

A syllable can be formed by a vowel: (V); by a vowel and a consonant: (VC); by a consonant and a sonorant (CS).

V — types of syllable called uncovered open, oak

VC — uncovered closed, odd

CVC —covered closed, note

CV —covered open, no.

20. The principle theories of syllable formation

Speech can be broken into minimal pronounceable units into which sounds show tendency to group themselves. These smallest phonetic groups are generally given the name of syllables. There are different points of view on syllable formation, which arе the following.

- THE MOST ANCIENT THEORY states that there are as many syllables in a word as there are vowels. This theory is primitive and insufficient since it does not take into consideration consonants which also can form syllables in some languages. And it doesn’t explain the boundary of syllables.

- THE EXPIRATORY THEORY states that there are as many syllables in a word as there are expiration (выдох) pulses. The borderline between the syllables is, according to this theory, the moment of the weakest expiration. This theory is inconsistent, because it is quite possible to pronounce several syllables in one expiration, e.g. seeing.

- THE SONORITY THEORY founded by Jespersen. It states that there are as many syllables in a word as there are peaks of sonority. Speech sounds pronounced with the same force, length and pitch, differ in sonority. For ex, when the Rus. vowels /а, о, э/ are pronounced on one and the same level, their acoustic intensity, or sonority is different: the strongest is /a/, then go /о, э/.

O. Jespersen established the scale of sonority of sounds, that is, the scale of their sonority. According to this scale the most sonorous are back vowels (low, mid, high), then go semi-vowels and sonorants, then - voiced and voiceless consonants.

- THE ARC OF LOUDNESS THEORY is based on the Scherba’s statement that the centre of the syl. is the syl. forming phoneme. Sounds which precede or follow it constitute a chain or an arc which is weak in the beginning and in the end and strong in the middle.

If a syl. consists of a vowel its strength increases in the beginning, reaches the maximum of loudness and then gradually decreases.

Scherbs distinguishes the following types of cons-s: finally strong (initially weak), they occur at the begin. of the syl; finally weak – occur at the end of the closed syl.; double peaked (combination of two similar sounds) – in their articulation the beginning and the end are energetic and the middle is weak.

Ex, in the words cab the cons-s /k/ is finally strong, its articulatory strength increases to the end.

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