(redirected from monosyllable)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


A syllable is a sequence of speech sounds (formed from vowels and consonants) organized into a single unit. Syllables act as the building blocks of a spoken word, determining the pace and rhythm of how the word is pronounced.
The three structural elements of a syllable are the nucleus, the onset, and the coda.
Syllables can be structured several ways, but they always contain a nucleus, which is (usually) formed from a vowel sound. The nucleus is the core of the syllable, indicating its individual “beat” within a word; the number of syllables in a word will be determined by the number of vowel sounds forming their nuclei.
Continue reading...
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the minimal articulated unit of speech, consisting of one or several sounds that form a compact phonetic entity and that occur during one chest pulse. Proponents of various theories concerning the syllable believe that a syllable is produced by one muscular contraction, by modulation (narrowing and widening) of the pharynx, or by the degree of sonority and the order in which sounds are uttered.

A syllable is composed of a beginning (onset), a peak (nucleus), and a final part (coda). A peak is formed by simple vowels (ma-ma), by sonorants in some languages (Czech prst, “finger”), and occasionally by obstruents (psst!). A syllable’s beginning and end are formed by one or more consonants; in some languages a syllable may consist only of a peak (o-ni, “they”). Syllables are closed when they end in a consonant and open when they end in a vowel. They are uncovered when they begin with a vowel and covered when they begin with a consonant. The commonest syllable structure, found in all languages of the world, is consonant followed by vowel.

Division into syllables often does not correspond to division into morphemes. In the word ruchka (“handle”), morphemes for example, there are two syllables (ru-chka) but three morphemes (ruch-k-a). In syllabic languages, such as Chinese, morphemes are generally monosyllabic and syllable and morpheme boundaries coincide. In such languages, the beginning of a syllable is contrasted to its end, which is limited to certain permissible sounds.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Because English has so many monosyllables, we have to add a potentially stressed monosyllable on W to the adjacent word whose stress falls on S.
As terms of versification analysis, these are instances where a potentially stressed monosyllable in a weak position precedes (proclitic) or follows (enclitic) the adjacent word with its stress in a strong position and with which it has a syntactic link.
CASE REPORT: A 2 yrs old girl resident of Mumbra of non-consanguineous marriage presented with complains of inability of head holding and delayed speech (Inability to utter any monosyllable) and no other positive complains.
Falling diphthong (first-vowel syllabic) in a stressed syllable or monosyllable, ending with a dolce semivowel.
Murase et al., "A new simple evaluation method of the monosyllable /sa/ using a psychoacoustic system in maxillectomy patients," Journal of Prosthodontic Research, vol.
She was not one to answer with a monosyllable. So I knew something was amiss.
Several studies have addressed this issue directly by examining both orthographic and morphographic cues which may enable children to resolve the complexities of stress assignment and vowel reduction that arise in decoding beyond the monosyllable. Kelly, Morris, and Verrekia (1998) demonstrated that skilled readers have acquired knowledge about the orthographic correlates of lexical stress.
Name at least three such (monosyllable) verbs whose present tense becomes simple past by removing one vowel only; no other letters are to be changed.
Note, however, that while Duanmu's formulation can predict the choice between monosyllable and disyllable when both alternatives are available, it stops short of disallowing metrically awkward structures when no disyllabic alternative is present.