from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A unit of spoken language consisting of a single uninterrupted sound formed by a vowel, diphthong, or syllabic consonant alone, or by any of these sounds preceded, followed, or surrounded by one or more consonants.
- n. One or more letters or phonetic symbols written or printed to approximate a spoken syllable.
- n. The slightest bit of spoken or written expression: Do not alter a syllable of this message.
- transitive v. To pronounce in syllables.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A unit of human speech that is interpreted by the listener as a single sound, although syllables usually consist of one or more vowel sounds, either alone or combined with the sound of one or more consonants; a word consists of one or more syllables.
- n. The written representation of a given pronounced syllable.
- v. To utter in syllables.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An elementary sound, or a combination of elementary sounds, uttered together, or with a single effort or impulse of the voice, and constituting a word or a part of a word. In other terms, it is a vowel or a diphtong, either by itself or flanked by one or more consonants, the whole produced by a single impulse or utterance. One of the liquids, l, m, n, may fill the place of a vowel in a syllable. Adjoining syllables in a word or phrase need not to be marked off by a pause, but only by such an abatement and renewal, or reënforcement, of the stress as to give the feeling of separate impulses. See Guide to Pronunciation, §275.
- n. In writing and printing, a part of a word, separated from the rest, and capable of being pronounced by a single impulse of the voice. It may or may not correspond to a syllable in the spoken language.
- n. A small part of a sentence or discourse; anything concise or short; a particle.
- transitive v. To pronounce the syllables of; to utter; to articulate.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The smallest separately articulated element in human utterance; a vowel, alone, or accompanied by one or more consonants, and separated by these or by a pause from a preceding or following vowel; one of the successive parts or joints into which articulated speech is divided, being either a whole word, composed of a single vowel (whether simple or compound) with accompanying consonants, or a part of a word containing such a vowel, separated from a preceding or following vowel either by a hiatus (that is, an instant of silence) or, much more usually, by an intervening consonant, or more than one.
- n. In music, one of the arbitrary combinations of consonants and vowels used in solmization.
- n. The least expression of language or thought; a particle.
- To divide into syllables.
- To pronounce syllable by syllable; articulate; utter.
- To speak.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme
Next, (in order to sustain his anti-_th_ theory,) he says, (Vol.III. p. 227,) that "the last syllable of 'murder,' then written _mur_th_er_, _seems to have been pronounced somewhat like the same syllable_ of the French _meurtre_."
_terminating syllable, _ retains its distinct and intrinsic meaning, as much as when associated with a verb by juxtaposition: consequently, an "auxiliary verb" may form a part of a mood or tense, or passive verb, with as much propriety as a _terminating syllable_.
_radical pitch varies from syllable to syllable_, forming a diatonic melody.
But – and we come to a divergence – this method of counting does, in French practice, often do away with the rhythm so delightful to an English ear; in Chinese, no such violence occurs, as each syllable is a word and no collection of such words can fall into a metric pulse as French words can, and, in their Chansons, are permitted to do.
In English, the stress on a syllable is a matter of WEIGHT ... you press on the stressed syllable, you put some weight on it – you push it down ... you hit it.
Naming a town "Haag" would just be odd, as it needs an article (compare a town named "Hedge" in English speaking countries) and the single syllable is metrically awkward as well.
Which syllable is stressed is a major part of distinguishing these words when you hear them, as the actual endings added, “ic” and “er”, are themselves very short.
The reduplication of the first syllable is a common way of implying repetitive action, as "to rub or scratch" implies. back
“A Chinese syllable is composed of an initial and a final” Hmm ….
A Chinese syllable is composed of an initial and a final.