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Theories of syllable Expiratory (chest pulse or pressure) theory by R.H. Stetson

Syllabic structure of the English language


Syllabic structure of the English language

1. Problems of defining the nature of syllable. Syllable as a functional language unit.

2. Theories of syllable:

a) the expiratory theory by R. H. Stetson;

b) the sonority theory by O. Jesperson;

c) the theory of muscular tension by L.V. Shcherba.

3. Principles of syllable formation of the English language.

4. Problems of syllable division in English.


Syllabic structure of the English language

Syllables are minimal pronounceable units into which sounds show a tendency to cluster or group.

The syllable is a complicated phenomenon and like a phoneme it can be studied on four levels - articulatory, acoustic, auditory and functional.

The nature of syllable

From the point of view of acoustic and auditory aspects a syllable is characterized by the force of utterance, pitch of the voice, sonority, and length, or by prosodic features

Articulatory features of the syllable are connected with sound juncture and with the theories of syllable formation and syllable division

What is the syllable?

There exist two points of view:

1. Sme linguists consider the syllable to be a purely articulatory unit which lacks any functional value. This point of view is defended on the ground that the boundaries of syllables do not always coincide with those of morphemes.

2. However the majority of linguists treat the syllable as the smallest pronounceable unit which can reveal some linguistic function.


The functional aspect of the syllable

When we mean the functional aspect of the syllable it should be defined with the reference to the structure of one particular language.

The definition of the syllable from the functional point of view tends to single out the following features of the syllable:

a) a syllable is a chain of phonemes of varying length;

b) a syllable is constructed on the basis of contrast of its constituents (which is usually of vowel - consonant type);

c) the nucleus of a syllable is a vowel, the presence of consonants is optional; there are no languages in which vowels are not used as syllable nuclei, however, there are languages in which this function is performed by consonants;

d) the distribution of phonemes in the syllabic structure follows by the rules which are specific enough for a particular language.


Constitutive - syllables forms words and utterances

Recognitive /identificatory the function of defining boundaries of linguistic units

Distinctive the function of defining meanings

An ocean a notion

Ice-cream - I scream


Communicative: the duration of the syllabic vowel increases when a word is pronounced with a rising tone:

Was it our city?

It was our city.

Theories of syllable Expiratory (chest pulse or pressure) theory by R.H. Stetson

This theory is based on the assumption that expiration in speech is a pulsating process and each syllable should correspond to a single expiration. So the number of syllables in an utterance is determined by the number of expirations made in the production of the utterance.

This theory was strongly criticized by Russian and foreign linguists. G.P. Torsuyev, for example, wrote that in a phrase a number of words and consequently a number of syllables can be pronounced with a single expiration. This fact makes the validity of the theory doubtful.

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 4710

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