Spelling 01 - How Many Syllables?
The building blocks of the English language are several, and among them spellings and pronunciation play an important role in communicating effectively.
Spellings and pronunciations are built on the back of the 26 letters in the alphabet. These 26 letters are divided into 5 vowels and 21 consonants. You all know that the vowels are A, E, I, O and U. The consonants are the remaining 21 letters. In spellings it is almost imperative that a word must have at least one vowel in it, although you do find some words (such as FRY or CRY) that do not have a vowel. For all practical purposes the letter Y is treated as a vowel.
In pronunciation the vowels have a special place on account of their unique sounds. Since each word must contain a vowel sound it follows that each word must have either a vowel or a letter Y. The sound made by a vowel is termed a syllable.
If a word has more than one vowel it is possible to have more than one syllable. Some words do have two vowels bunched together, as for instance in the word EAT. In such cases there is usually only one syllable as the two vowels together make one sound.
Sometimes words have vowels which are silent while pronouncing. For instance, CAKE is one such word where the E is silent (but changes the sound of the letter A from A to AY) and this word is a single syllable word.
You might also find words which have the same vowel appearing in sequence such as CHEESE, and this word is also a single syllable word (as the two E's together are pronounced EE rather than E-E).
Remember that the number of syllables a word has is equal to the number of times the sound of a vowel is heard, rather than how many times the vowel itself appears. Play the quiz that follows and learn some more about syllables.