2 Syllables Words consist of a Consonant followed by a Vowel. Distortion of adult speech by children is common and typical.However, this distortion obeys certain unwritten and unconscious laws.These laws govern the way segments are abstractly connected in clusters known as Syllables.Segments that are not consistent with these laws are not pronounced.
3 The Core SyllableThe core syllable is made up of a Nucleus preceded by an Onset:O(nset) N(ucleus)C V
4 The Core Syllable Some languages only have CV syllables. More commonly, languages allow for syllables of greater complexity.The core syllable is, however, found in every language.The fact that CV syllables are cross-linguistically attested offers an interesting parallel with their invariable occurrence in early child language.
5 Sonority and the Syllable What motivates the CV configuration?Some sounds are more sonorous than others.Vowels have more sonority than consonants.Therefore, sonority goes up from the onset to the nucleus.
6 The Coda Syllable structure can be considerably richer than CV. The segmental string that makes up a word like // ‘captain’ does not fit into the core syllable’s template. O N O N
7 The CodaSegments that are not affiliated to a syllable fail to be pronounced.Syllables act as licensers of phonetic material.Therefore, /p/ and /n/ must be part of a syllable, as both are pronounced in the English word ‘captain’.
8 The CodaSyllable structure in English admits more segmental material than the core syllable.This is licensed through the Coda. O N Cd O N Cd
9 The Rime Consider the following: A B C  pat  pat  pat [b] bat  pan [I] pit[k] cat  pad  pot[f] fat  pack  putThe three groups exhibit the same amount of phonetic overlap:  in A,  in B, and [ … ] in C.However, ONLY the ones in group A rhyme with each other.
10 The Rime Rhyming is not just a matter of overlap. The overlap must affect a certain position within the syllable: N + Cd.The nucleus and the coda group together in a constituent called Rime (R):O RN Cd
11 Basic Syllable Typology The nucleus is essential to the syllable.Onsets and codas are optional.So, the basic syllable types are:ON ONCd NCd NThe core syllable template can undergo a number of changes:- delete the onset ON NC / _____ VCV V- insert a coda ON ONCd C / V _____CV CVC- delete the onset ON NCdand insert a coda C / _____ VCV VC
12 Complexity The core syllable CV is the simplest. - No operations The VC is the most complex.- Both operations (deletion & insertion)The V and CVC have intermediate complexity.- One operation (deletion OR insertion)
13 Complexity O N N Cd O N Cd N O N N Cd O N Cd N he is teeth are
14 ComplexityChildren acquire simpler syllable types before the more complex ones.The presence of a more complex type in any one language presupposes the presence of its simpler counterpart(s).Syllable-related historical change tends to go in the direction of greater syllable simplicity.In languages with a rich range of syllable patterns, simpler syllables are more frequent in syllable inventories and in language use.
15 Complex Nuclei Consider the following: O R O R N Cd N Cd O R O RN Cd N Cd i The two words have the same syllable structure (ONCd).However, do they fit the same syllable template (CVC)?
16 Complex NucleiSyllable structure is built on the timing tier, not on the melody tier: O R O R O RN Cd N Cd N Cdx x x x x x x x x x x i b a tbeat bit biteCV:C CVC CVVC
17 Complex OnsetsTo accommodate words like flag, glad, dress, and the like, the representation must allow for onsets with two timing slots:O RN Cdx x x x flagCCVC
18 More on SonorityA syllable is made up of a segment of high sonority flanked by segments of lower sonority.A syllable is a Cluster of Sonority, defined by a sonority peak.And, speech is a sequence of such sonority clusters.
19 Branching Onsets in English Bi-consonantal Onset Clusters:[pl] plain  pray[bl] bless [b] bread[fl] fly [f] frame three[t] tree[d] dream[sl] sleep[S] shrub[kl] clean [k] cream[gl] glass [g] green
20 Branching Onsets in English The first timing slot is filled with an obstruent.The second timing slot is filled with a liquid.The opposite order is never attested.Why?
21 Conditioned Templates The obstruent + liquid clusters can be formalized by imposing it into syllable templates:O RNOb Lq
22 Sonority HierarchyA more plausible account, however, is offered by the “Sonority Hierarchy”:4 Vowels Most Sonorous3 Liquids2 Nasals1 Obstruents Least SonorousThe Syllable Sonority Profile:i - risesii - reaches a peakiii - falls
25 Sonority SequencingThe sonority profile of the syllable is regulated by a universal principle:The Sonority SequencingThe sonority profile of the syllable must rise until it peaks, and then fall.So, an onset such as ls, the converse of existing sl, would violate the Sonority Sequencing Principle.
26 GapsAlthough they are consistent with the Sonority Sequencing, (stop + fricative) or (stop + nasal) clusters do not occur in English onsets.Is their absence from English arbitrary?
27 Sonority Distance Sonority Distance may vary: (stop + fricative) = 0(stop + nasal) = 1(stop + liquid) = 2In many languages, the segments of complex subsyllabic constituents need to satisfy a minimum of sonority distance.This requirement is formalized through the Minimal Sonority Distance parameter.For English, this parameter is set as follows:Minimal Sonority Distance in English OnsetsThe minimal sonority distance between the two elements of an English complex onset is 2.
28 Summing upSyllables are abstract structures which cannot themselves be pronounced.Children’s utterances consist principally of CV syllables.There are no languages where CV syllables are not attested.Syllable structure is richer than the core syllable.Syllable complexity can be measured against the optimal CV configuration.Syllable structure is built on the timing tier.The distribution of vowels and consonants within a syllable is a consequence of sonority differences between these two classes of sounds.The constraints on possible branching onsets in English are also explained by the principle of Sonority Sequencing and the Minimal Sonority Distance.