The English language is incredible for its diverse nature. Among the various important constituents of the language is pronunciation. Pronunciation is a vital component of both speaking and listening. While speaking, proper pronunciation is necessary so that the listener and the speaker understand one another, and it is in pronunciation that the syllable assumes its importance.
Syllables help by breaking down words into individual components of sound, each of which we call a syllable. For instance, while TEA is pronounced with just one syllable, it requires three syllables to pronounce EXTERNAL, broken up into EX-TER-NAL. Generally, it is the rule that there are as many syllables as there are vowels but, as usual, there are exceptions which we looked at in the earlier quiz.
When looking at syllables do not get confused by the length of the word and the number of consonants in it. Remember that vowels determine the number of syllables and not consonants. Take a look at this word:
It has 9 consonants and 6 vowels but only 5 syllables. The reason is that IO is treated as one vowel sound and English has several similar combinations.
Now look at the word LAVA. It has two vowels, two syllables and also two consonants. But, look at STRAIGHT and you will find it has two vowels and six consonants but only one syllable. This is because AI is treated as one vowel sound, as IO was in the earlier example.
Another good example of less syllables and more vowels is the word ATROCIOUS. In it there are five vowels but only three syllables. The reason is that the vowels IOU appear together and are considered as one vowel sound.
Play this quiz and see if you now have a mastery over syllables!