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Introduction

In this lesson, the goal is to learn what syllables are, and the evidence that motivates them.

Major Terms

The Beat Goes On

To begin with, you should be made aware of the fact that you, as a speaker of language, have some intuitions about what a syllable is. In fact, you may already have learned about syllables in your previous education.

In rather basic terms, a syllable is a timing unit for language. Words in language take certain amounts of time to utter. This time can be measured in terms of syllables.

Each of the preceding words had differing lengths, each measureable in terms of syllables. The first word is composed of one syllable, the second word is composed of two syllables, and the final word is composed of five syllables.

In the next sections, there will be a discussion of the structure of the syllable, and the motivations for considering the syllable as a phonological entity.


Go on to Part 2

Phonology

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