Spelling 02 - Syllabic Consonants
The tail of a rattlesnake. 'Rattle' is a word that has a syllabic consonant in it. Do you know which one?

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:

PUZZLE
BUTTON
HEROISM
TRACTION
GLISTENING.

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.
1.
How many syllables are there in the word BURDEN?
Four syllables
Three syllables
Two syllables
One syllable
'Burden' is a word that has a syllabic consonant N. The second syllable is pronounced with the N sound and not the O sound. Usually, the syllabic consonant N appears after T, S, Z or D (as in ROTTEN, RISEN, BRAZEN and SUDDEN) and after the letter E
2.
How many syllables are there in the word SOWING?
One syllable
Two syllables
Three syllable
Four syllables
'Sowing' is a word that has a syllabic consonant NG. The second syllable is pronounced with the NG sound and not the I sound
3.
How many syllables are there in the word RHYTHM?
No syllables
One syllable
Two syllables
Three syllables
'Rhythm' is a word that has a syllabic consonant M. The second syllable is pronounced with the M sound. Note also that there is no regular vowel in this word and the letter Y takes on the role of a vowel
4.
How many syllables are there in the word PRISON?
Four syllables
Three syllables
Two syllables
One syllable
'Prison' is a word that has a syllabic consonant N. The second syllable is pronounced with the N sound and not the O sound
5.
How many syllables are there in the word RATTLE?
One syllable
Two syllables
Three syllables
Four syllables
'Rattle' is a word that has a syllabic consonant L. The second syllable is pronounced with the L sound and not the E sound. Usually, the syllabic consonant L appears after T, Z or D (as in BOTTLE, MUZZLE and SADDLE) and is followed by the letter E
6.
How many syllables are there in the word PISTOL?
One syllable
Two syllables
Three syllables
Four syllables
'Pistol' is a word that has a syllabic consonant L. The second syllable is pronounced with the L sound and not the O sound. Usually, the syllabic consonant L appears after N, NT or ST (as in TUNNEL, MANTLE and CRYSTAL)
7.
How many syllables are there in the word FRACTION?
Four syllables
Three syllables
Two syllables
One syllable
'Fraction' is a word that has a syllabic consonant N. The second syllable is pronounced with the N sound. Here, the I and O vowel sounds are merged with the N sound. Usually, the syllabic consonant N appears after T, S, Z or D (as in ROTTEN, RISEN, BRAZEN and SUDDEN)
8.
How many syllables are there in the word DRIZZLE?
Four syllables
Three syllable
Two syllables
One syllable
'Drizzle' is a word that has a syllabic consonant L. The second syllable is pronounced with the L sound and not the E sound. Usually, the syllabic consonant L appears after T, Z or D (as in BOTTLE, MUZZLE and SADDLE)
9.
The last syllable in the word METABOLISM sounds like which letter?
The letter I
The letter M
The letter S
The letter L
'Metabolism' is a word that has a syllabic consonant M. The fourth syllable is pronounced with the M sound
10.
How many syllables are there in the word HEDONISM?
One syllable
Two syllables
Three syllables
Four syllables
'Hedonism' is a word that has a syllabic consonant M. The fourth syllable is pronounced with the M sound
Author:  V T Narendra

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