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  1. #1
    FarhatAlam is offline Newbie
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    Default Problem understanding Tonic Syllables and Onset Syllables

    I am having a hard time understanding what is a tonic syllable and an onset syllable. I missed the lecture at my University on this, and my friend who attended tried briefing it to me.

    What I understood from her briefing is: a tonic syllable is the stressed syllable of the main word of a sentence. As in: She lives in London.

    But I am not sure if it's a correct definition/example.

    About onset syllables, I have only the definition: The syllables that establish a pitch that stays constant up to the tonic syllable are called onset syllables, as in: She lives in London. but my friend said that "Lon" is tonic syllable and "don" is an onset syllables.

    I don't speak English as my native language and neither did I study in an English medium school; may be that's why I am having a tough time understanding the definitions.

    I'd appreciate any sort of help regarding this, I have my final exam tomorrow and I feel helpless.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Problem understanding Tonic Syllables and Onset Syllables

    Only a brief answer, as intonation is not my strong point. Your friend's explanation of 'tonic syllable' is, broadly speaking, correct. The onset syllable is the one bearing a secondary stress that starts the pitch. In your sentence, 'lives' is the onset, 'Lon' the tonic.

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Problem understanding Tonic Syllables and Onset Syllables

    Yes; one additional way to think about the distinction is to note that tonic accent syllables are clearly stronger and louder than the others; onset accented syllables are set apart more by rhythm and a sing-song tone of voice, as seen in Italian: internazion'ale.

    That's the way I learnt it.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Only a brief answer, as intonation is not my strong point. Your friend's explanation of 'tonic syllable' is, broadly speaking, correct. The onset syllable is the one bearing a secondary stress that starts the pitch. In your sentence, 'lives' is the onset, 'Lon' the tonic.

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