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One of my major weakness when it comes to speaking is spelling, so I’ve been working on it. But it has come to a halt since I’m experiencing some difficulties with syllables. Some examples about these difficulties are taken checked from this site; Word Stress Rules
Ok, on this site, it is said that the most two-syllabled nouns and adjectives have their stresses on the first syllables;
PREsent, SLENder, CLEVer,…
My problem is that I don’t know how to divide a word into its syllables.
To me; the noun present is pə -re-sent or pə -res-ent.
The same for slender and clever;
sə -len-der cə-le-ver
This way, they no longer have 2 syllables and they are 3-syllabled now. Thus I don’t know what rule can be applied to spell them anymore.
Let me give you some other examples;
One of the other rules for spelling is that for the words ending with “-cy, -ty, -phy , -al” ,the stress is always on the ante-penultimate syllable.
Some examples are ; deMOcracy, dependaBIlity, phoTOgraphy, geOLogy, CRItical, geoLOGical
But why is democracy being spelled as de-MO-cra-cy, not as de-moc-ra-cy or de-mo-cə-ra-cy?
The same goes for the other examples;
de-pen-da-BI-li-ty versus de-pen-da-BIl-i-ty
pho-TO-gra-phy versus pho-TOG-ra-phy
ge-OL-o-gy versus ge-O-lo-gy
CRI-ti-cal versus cə- RI-ti-cal
These examples are from the site I mentioned. If I’m to check a dictionary, I’d find tons of more examples.
Since spelling is crucial for me to correct and improve my speaking, I want your help how to divide the words (the ones with more than one syllable, of course) into their syllables.
Your helps are most appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Last edited by euncu; 31-Mar-2010 at 21:48.
I learned how to split the syllables of words in a very creative way: I wrote poetry. The way I achieved this skill is rather simple, yet it took several evenings to master. I spent much of my time reading dictionaries and thesauruses, which have pronunciation guides, as you know. The key is to familiarize yourself with basic words. A useful tool may be dictionary.com . This site will help you recognize the stressed syllable and how many syllables are in each word. Most words have a free sound clips, which you can listen to. This might help you learn how to split up each word into syllables, yet it'll take some work.
I hope this helped.
A dividing a word into its syllables looks, for me, relatively easy. If between
the two consonants no a vowel /or vowels/ there is no separate syllable.
This issue may occurs stronger in the Arabic language. There are only consonants written.
Eg: shukran - شكرا - thank you. We have here four consonants but only two syllables.
I know that in your country the Perso-Arabic alphabet - الفبا -was used till
1928. In this alphabet there is one more letter than in Arabic. The letter is 'p' that doesn't appears in the Arabic. I hear sometimes Arabs pronouncing in English, for example, [pank] instead of bank or [baba] instead of papa.
I havn't a sufficient knowledge to see any connotation with your problem and your native language.
I'm not a writer nor a teacher.
Personally, I don't understand what the actual problem is.
Syllable has ALWAYS a vowel in it. So you can't split the words this way:
s-len-der; c-le-ver. The 's' and 'c' do not function as syllables here. The number of syllables is equal to the number of vowels in these words and that is TWO, not three.
Also, consider this: what is the actual difference in what syllable you put a single consonant within a word as you did in:
The correct variant is the 1st, but I can't see in what way this might be possibly misleading (even if you split the other way) since it doesn't change the number of syllables. As the rule tells, the stress is on the ante-penultimate syllable and either way, it's on the 'O'.
And your 3d example (de-mo-c-ra-cy) is obviously incorrect, since, like I said, the consonat alone cannot function as syllable.
P.S. Why do you need to split the syllables for speaking if you can just memorize the stress of a word the way you do its meaning?
Last edited by IHIVG; 04-Apr-2010 at 01:22.
That's not a rule for spelling; it's a rule for pronunciation.
Originally Posted by euncu
Counterexamples: racy, city, trophy, vial.
The rule needs an amendment to the way you've presented it: the word must have an ante-penultimate syllable - it only applies to words of three or more syllables.
Actually you can find the word syllables in dictionaries. For instance, I am using Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 5th Edition, when I search "present", it will show me "pres . ent", that means there are two syllables and I search "slender", it will show me "Slen . der", that means there are two syllables.....In short, you just use more dictionary, then you would understand more about the syllables of the words....
Originally Posted by euncu
Thank you all for your efforts.
But, I'd like to emphasize that I'm pretty good when it comes to using books, especially the dictionaries. What I was trying to point out here, has been lost as far as I can see and it's probably because of me having not made myself clear. And, maybe, apart from not being clear, I should have tried to accept the words as I heard them rather than having consulted to dictionaries or grammar book to find some rules to understand them. And for most words it would be no problem since there are vast audio-visual sources for English to be found (from tv shows to movies or online radio shows, etc.). So hearing and showing a little attension would do the trick. But the problem begins when reading books or magazines and coming across the words that are used rarely on those (audio-visual) sources. In such a case, the only thing that I can count on are some rules in hand. My post was an attemp to have grasp of those rules, and all I was trying to say was that once I got to get over with those syllable thing I wouldn't have any problem using these rules. And I tried to explain what was confusing me when it came to divide the words that had more than one syllable into their syllables.
So, as I have just mentioned above, it'd be better to learn the exact spelling and the usage of the words by listening (or more accurately heeding them). However, it would be hard for me to learn all those words one by one instead of reproducing them from some rules I mentioned on my original post. (Here, I don't mean that there are no exceptions or those rules apply to all words.)
And finally, as I said at the very beginning I do appreciate your efforts to help me out on these matter.
Last edited by euncu; 04-Apr-2010 at 21:06.
The best advice really is to learn the stress pattern of unfamiliar words and /or to check a good dictionary or pronouncing dictionary. However, if you are advanced in English there are rules re syllables and syllable stress. Let's say there are at least 8 general stress rules and 15 specific stress rules and there are exceptions to most of them. If you want specific information either regarding syllables or syllable stress, please mail me and I'll help you out.
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