What is a syllable?

What is a syllable?

A syllable is like me or like me in me•di•a

A syllable is a small word like the word me, or a part of a word like the syllable me in me•di•a. A syllable must contain, at least, one vowel. A syllable can contain one or more vowels but it can ONLY have one vowel sound.

Examples of Syllables

♦ There are two syllables in win•dow, win and dow

♦ There is only one syllable in cake

♦ There are three syllables in i•dea

♦ There are four syllables in dic•tion•ar•y

♦ There are five syllables in so•phis•ti•cat•ed

♦ There are three syllables in beau•ti•ful

Only One Vowel Sound Can be in a Syllable

A syllable may contain one or more than one vowel, but it can only have ONE VOWEL SOUND. It is not the number of vowels in a syllable that matters, as long as those vowels make one sound. For instance, the syllable beau in beau•ti•ful contains three vowels, but only one vowel sound is heard, namely the u sound is heard, and ea in beau is silent.

Because e and a are silent, the e and a do not count as sounding vowels in this syllable; it is like they don’t exist in this syllable. Silent vowels do not count in a syllable, and they cannot break free to form a new syllable. Only sounding vowels have power and can break away to form their own independent syllables, as in i•dea.

Likewise, there is only one vowel sound in cake. The only vowel sound heard in cake is a, and e is silent. Because e is silent in cake, the word cake cannot be divided into ca and ke. The ke would be soundless without a vowel sound in it; therefore, the silent e cannot count as a sounding vowel to form its own syllable.

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