A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants).

Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic meter and its stress patterns.

Syllabic writing began several hundred years before the first letters. The earliest recorded syllables are on tablets written around 2800 BC in the Sumerian city of Ur. This shift from pictograms to syllables has been called "the most important advance in the history of writing".

A word that consists of a single syllable (like English dog) is called a monosyllable (and is said to be monosyllabic). Similar terms include disyllable (and disyllabic) for a word of two syllables; trisyllable (and trisyllabic) for a word of three syllables; and polysyllable (and polysyllabic), which may refer either to a word of more than three syllables or to any word of more than one syllable.

Read more about Syllable:  Structure, Suprasegmentals, Phonotactic Constraints, Notation, Syllabification, Syllable Division and Ambisyllabicity, Stress, Vowel Tenseness, Nucleus-less Syllables

Other articles related to "syllable, syllables":

Late Middle Japanese - Phonology - Syllable Structure
... Traditionally syllables were of (C)V structure ... such, there was no need to distinguish between syllables and morae ... This structure is (C)V(C) and is a syllable ...
Nucleus-less Syllables
... The notion of syllable is challenged by languages that allow long strings of consonants without any intervening vowel or sonorant ... analyses, he finds that the word would have been parsed into 0, 2, 3, 5, or 6 syllables depending which analysis is used ... One analysis would consider all vowel and consonants segments as syllable nuclei, another would consider only a small subset (fricatives or sibilants) as nuclei candidates, and another would simply deny the ...
Minor Syllable
... Minor syllable is a term used primarily in the description of Mon-Khmer languages, where a word typically consists of a reduced (minor) syllable followed by a full tonic or stressed syllable ... The minor syllable may be of the form /Cə/ or /CəN/, with a reduced vowel, as in colloquial Khmer, or of the form /CC/ with no vowel at all, as in ... 'one and a half syllables'), a term coined by the American linguist James Matisoff in 1973 ...
Lojban Grammar - Orthography - Latin/Roman Mode
... be applied to mark a non-standard stressed syllable as in cmene, but they are not considered separate lerfu ... Whether a single vowel or the entire syllable is capitalized is a matter of preference for example, the name "Josephine" can be rendered as either DJOzefin ... the ordinary rules of Lojban stress will cause the 'ze' syllable to be stressed instead) ...
Standard Chinese Phonology - Syllable Reduction
... When a syllable is unstressed, it not only loses its tone, but tenuis occlusives such as b d g z j become voiced (in pinyin, bb dd gg zz jj) and the vowel is reduced ... When the consonant of the unstressed syllable in a nasal or a fricative, the vowel (or entire rime) may be dropped altogether ... last example involved assimilation as well, which is seen even in unreduced syllables in quick speech (for example, in guǎmbō for guǎngbō 'broadcast') ...

Famous quotes containing the word syllable:

    To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
    Victor Hugo (1802–1885)

    He generally added the syllable um to his words when he could,—as paddlum, etc.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    The Brain is just the weight of God—
    For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
    And they will differ—if they do—
    As Syllable from Sound—
    Emily Dickinson (1830–1886)