Syllable phonology

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The syllable phonology describes some theories in phonology , which differ from each other in the consideration of the respective central phonological unit :

The autosegmental phonology sees the syllable as the central layer in the CV skeleton . In contrast, metric phonology uses either aspects of the prosody of the syllable cut or the sonority hierarchy .

Articulation sequence

Acoustically speaking, a syllable corresponds to a cycle with initially increasing and then decreasing intensity . From an articulatory point of view, the syllable is the time span between two minima of the local opening . This period of time contains an opening in the vocal tract that does not produce a sound (attachment tube) and a sound-producing narrowing ( constriction ). The articulation is therefore the result of the opening and closing processes of the extension tube.

Example: The word "tub"

Phase:                   Verschluss • Öffnung • Verschluss • Öffnung
                                      .......              ........
                                     .       .            .
                         ............         ............
Intensität:                Minimum    Maximum   Minimum     Maximum
                              |          |         |           |
Skelett:                      C          V         C           V
                              |          |         |           |
Lautschrift:                 [v]        [a]       [n]         [ə]
 			           W          a         nn          e

Phonological functions of the syllable

The syllable serves as the core unit for speech processing and is important for planning the articulation as well as for reception :

  • as an area of ​​application (domain) of phonological processes (example: final hardening),
  • as a domain for phonotactic regularities (example: order of the segments which refer to a syllable or its parts),
  • as a carrier of prosodic characteristics.

Syllable structure

In addition to the articulatory layer, the syllable structure is also important. The syllable structure is represented by the syllabic structure. The segment layer can be inferred from the syllable layer determined. The CV layer (skeleton layer) is located between the syllable layer and the segment layer. In CV notation, the abbreviations C and V stand for unsyllabic (C) and syllabic (V) segments of the articulation sequence. A V represents the syllable core . The structure of the skeleton layer and the segment layer can differ, i.e. they can differ from one another: With long segments , such as long vowels or long consonants , one unit of the segment layer corresponds to two units from the CV layer. In the case of complex segments , such as the affricates , one unit of the CV layer represents two segments of the segment layer.

From a quantitative point of view, a maximum of two Cs are allowed in German before and after each syllable peak V. The phonotactic maximal scheme would be CCVCC.

The constituent structure can also be used instead of the CV model. The constituent layer then replaces the CV layer. The advantage of using the constituent model lies in the possibility of considering several intermediate levels, which dissect larger parts of the syllable ( constituents ). With the constituent analysis, a syllable breaks down into the constituents syllable initial sound and syllable rhyme . The rhyme, in turn, is divided into the sub-constituents summit and syllable coda . The syllable head, nucleus and coda are firmly linked to the respective segments of the skeletal layer of the syllable.

Example: the word "schnapps"

                     /     \
                    /       Reim
                   /       /     \
                Kopf   Nukleus    Koda
                 /\       |       /  \
                X  X      x       X   X
                |  |      |       |   |
Lautschrift:    ʃ   n      a       p   s

See also


  • T. Alan Hall: Phonology. An introduction. 2010
  • GN Clements & SJ Keyser: CV Phonology, 1983
  • T. Vennemann, Preference Laws for Syllable Structure. 1988
  • T. Vennemann: Universal Syllabic Phonology. Theoretical Linguistics 5, 1978, 175-215
  • T. Vennemann (Ed.): Syllables, segments, accents. 1982
  • Karl-Heinz Ramers: Introduction to Phonology, 1998
  • Tracy Alan Hall: Syllable Structure and syllable related processes in German, 1992.
  • Peter Eisenberg , Karl-Heinz Ramers, Heinz Vater (Eds.): Syllable phonology in German, 1992
  • Karl-Heinz Ramers (2002): Phonology. In: Meibauer, Jörg et al. (Ed.): Introduction to German Linguistics, Metzler: Stuttgart, pp. 70–120.
  • Helmut Glück (Hsg): Metzler-Lexikon Sprach, 2000
  • Christian Ebert: Syllable phonology (PDF; 226 kB), 2005
  • Richard Wiese: The Phonology of German, 1996
  • Christina Noack: Phonology, 2010

Web links