2 STRONG AND WEAKOne of the most noticeable features of English pronunciation is that some of its syllables are strong while many others are weak. In weak syllable, the vowel tends to be shorter, of lower intensity (loudness), and different in quality. For example, the word ‘data’ /deitə/ whose the second syllable is weak and shorter than the first one. It is less loud as well.
3 THREE WAYS OF CHARACTERISING STRONG AND WEAK SYLLABLES We could describe them partly in terms of stress (that strong syllables are stressed and weak ones are unstressed).The strong syllable usually has one of vowel diphthongs as its peak.The weak syllables are in the following vowels such as ə, i, u with no coda (zero coda).
4 WEAK SYLLABLE #1At the end of a word, we may have a weak syllable ending with a vowel (with no coda).The vowelsLexical itemsə (schwa)Better /betə/Centre /sentə/iHappy /hæpi/Carry /kæri/uThank you /θæŋk. ju/
5 WEAK SYLLABLE #2 We also find weak syllables in word-final position with a coda if the the vowel is ə (schwa). Forexample:Open /ɔupən/Sharpen /ʃɑ:pən/
6 WEAK SYLLABLE #3 Inside a word, we can find the above vowels acting as peaks without codas in weak syllables.Examples:Photograph /fəƱtəgrɑ:f/Radio /reɪdiəƱ/
7 WEAK SYLLABLE #4 Let us now look where the vowel i can be found: In the word-final position in words spelt with final ‘y’ or ‘ey’ after one or more consonant letters (e.g. happy /hæpi/, valley /væli/.In a prefix such as those spelt ‘re’, ‘pre’, ‘de’ if it precedes a vowel and is unstressed (e.g. react /riækt/, create /krieɪt/, deodorant /diɔƱdərənt/.
8 SYLLABIC CONSONANTSWe have discussed about vowels in weak syllables. We must also consider syllable in which no vowel is found. In this case, a consonant, either l, r, or a nasal, stands as the peak of the syllable instead of the vowel, and we count these as weak syllables like the vowel. To indicate a syllabic consonants, there is a small vertical mark (ˌ) beneath the symbol, for example cattle /kætl/
9 SYLLABIC l #1Syllabic l can be preceded by alveolar and non alveolar consonants. The process occuring for syllabic l of alveolar consonants is called lateral release since the sides of the tongue, which are raised for the preceding consonant, are lowered to allow air to escape over them.
10 SYLLABIC l #2 The most obvious case is where we have a word ending with one or more consonant lettersfollowed by ‘le’AlveolarNon-alveolarCattle /kætl/Wrestle /resl/Bottle /bɒtl/Muddle /mʌdl/Couple /kʌpl/Struggle /strʌgl/Trouble /trʌbl/Knuckle /nʌkl/
11 SYLLABIC l #3The words mentioned on the previous slide usually lose their final letter ‘e’ when a suffix beginning with a vowel is attached, but the l usually remains syllabic.
12 SYLLABIC l #4We also find syllabic l in words spelt with one or more consonant letters followed by ‘al’ or ‘el’:‘al’‘el’Petal /petl/Pedal /pedl/Papal /peɪpl/Panel /pænl/Camel /kæml/Parcel /pɑ:sl/
13 SYLLABIC n, m, ŋ, and rOther syllabic consonants can be n, m, ŋ and r. Here are the examples:SyllabicLexical ItemsnOften /ɒfn/Seven /sevn/Eaten /i:tn/mUppermost /ʌpməƱst/ŋThicken /θɪkŋ/rPreference /prefrəns/
14 EXERCISEPlease find some words (five words for each) based on the following characteristics: 1. Weak syllable consisted of ‘ə’ with zero coda 2. Weak syllable consisted of ‘i’ with zero coda 3. Syllabic consonant with l 4. Syllabic consonant with n