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Stressed and Unstressed Syllables

Primary and secondary stress We have noted elsewhere (see Syllabic Consonants) that some syllables in polysyllabic words may be given more emphasis than others, i.e. they are stressed. This extra prominence is achieved predominantly, although not exclusively, by the speaker raising the pitch of the sounds that…

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Syllabic Consonants

Introduction We have seen elsewhere (see Syllables and Clusters) that English syllables generally: have a potential three-part structure made up of an onset, nucleus (or peak) and coda cannot be made up of just consonants cannot contain more than one vowel In addition,…

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Syllables and Clusters

Introduction We have seen elsewhere (Phonological Organization) that phonemes may be combined to form words and that there is an intermediate level of phonological organization between the phoneme and the word known as the syllable. This article examines the organization of syllables in greater depth.

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Systemic Simplifications

Phonological processes The phonological processes that occur in speech may be thought of as consisting of two main types: structural simplifications systemic simplifications Unlike structural simplifications, systemic simplifications do not alter the syllable structure of a word. Rather, they systematically vary a particular…

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The Phonological Problem

The phonological problem relates to the problem of how a listener knows which particular words have been uttered. The task of identifying the speech sounds that make up the words is made difficult by two factors: variation and co-articulation. These factors potentially make it difficult to segment one word from another in real-time speech.

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Transcribing Speech

Transcribing speech requires the use of a standardized system. The International Phonetic Alphabet is a notational system for transcribing the speech sounds of any world language. It is needed because there is no clear cut, one-to-one relationship between an alphabet letter and a speech sound. Download a copy of the full IPA chart here.

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