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Syllable

The syllable is a phonological unit within the prosodic hierarchy that comprises one or more speech segments. It is made up of subsyllabic constituents that are governed by language-universal and language-specific properties. This entry provides an overview of the syllable, including its organization and phonotactic restrictions, then explores some examples of exceptional syllable structure.

Organization of the Syllable

It is commonly assumed that the syllable is comprised of subsyllabic constituents known as the onset, rhyme, nucleus, and coda (see pan [pæn]; Figure 1a). Within a syllable, the onset includes any consonant occurring before the vowel, the nucleus refers to the vowel or vocalic portion, and the coda includes any consonant following the vowel. The nucleus and coda combine to form the rhyme.

Figure 1 Subsyllabic organization of (a) ...
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