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1Linguistics 250: Sound Patterns in Human LanguageSyllable StructureSyllableWhat is a syllable? People generally have a very intuitive understanding of what syllable ise.g., people find it easy to count syllablesCount the syllables in:suprasegmentalphonetic cottonseal53212SyllableMany phonological processes refer to the syllable as the relevant environment (i.e., where in the syllable some allophonic process occurs)Syllables are also the units that bear stress and serve as the “anchor points” for tones and in intonation3Psychological Evidence for SyllablesSlips of the tongue: interchanges typically maintain position in syllablea heapof junka hunk of jeep(switch of all but syllable-initial sound)a cup of coffeea cop of cuffee(switch of vowels)weak linkleak wink(switch of syllable-initial sounds)We don’t often get errors such as:weak linkweal kink (switch word-1 final & word-2 initial sounds)Language gamese.g. French “verlan”e.g. me.trotro.meobeys syllable structure4mae.stro stro.maeSyllable DefinitionSo what isa syllable? How can we define it more precisely?5Syllable StructureA syllable is a unit of sound composed ofa central peak of sonority (usually a vowel) the consonants that cluster around this central peak
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