Spelling 02 - Syllabic Consonants
We have learnt that the English alphabet contains 26 letters, of which 5 are vowels and 21 are consonants. Just as spellings are important to written English, syllables are important to spoken English. We have learnt that syllables are sounds made by vowels and generally there are as many syllables in a word as there are vowels. But we have seen that there are many exceptions to this rule which we see frequently!
Now, it is a bit ironic that only 5 vowels control the syllables in a word whereas the 21 consonants contribute little. Look at these words:
In these words you find that the letters L, N, M and NG take on the role of a vowel and supply the syllable.
In the word 'puzzle' we find two syllables but if you pronounce the word correctly (PUZ-L) you will notice only one vowel sound – the first sound in the word. In the word’s second syllable the vowel is not pronounced but it takes on the sound of the consonant L. Such consonants are called syllabic consonants. They perform the role of a vowel and the sounds associated with these letters represent syllables.
The letters L, N and M along with NG are syllabic consonants and they are often found in words. Syllables are among the many facets of the English language which make it so diverse and incredible. Play this quiz and learn what syllabic consonants are all about.