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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Is this correct for the anatomy of words?

    So my thoughts have been kind of everywhere on this subject. It started with "When is 'y' a vowel?" which led to "What exactly makes a syllable?" and here's my theory: A syllable is created by using vowels - a, e, i, o, u, and the infamous sometimes y. And with that, 'y' is a vowel when it's used in a syllable. For Example- "why" has one syllable and the "y" creates that syllable thus it is a vowel. Same goes for words like "psychic", "syllable", and even "therapy". So I had found out when "y" is a vowel; but the syllable rule bothered me. What about words like "beautiful" that have four syllables. My theory- two vowels put together create a single syllable. You see this everywhere. "You", "see", "four", and "great" are a few words.

    If anyone thinks of the word "beau" which has three vowels making a single syllable, the "e" and "a" work like conjoining consonants except they are vowels. Thus, one vowel and one conjoining vowel.

    After finding this, I thought I was done; but i wasn't. Now I wan't to work with consonants. My theory- vowels control consonants but only a maximum of 2. When I thought this, I wanted to find a word to challenge this. "syllable" worked perfectly. The "y" controls "s" and "ll". But that's three, which is one too many. So I came up with this: when two consonants come together to form a single sound (like "th", "sh", "ch", or even "ll") they count as a single consonant; I call them conjoined consonants. So, the "y" in "syllable" actually controls 1 consonant and 1 conjoined consonant (CC).

    So, I might have titled all this wrong. It's all a mixture of phonetics, pronunciation, and spelling. Either way, would anyone agree with this.

    P.S. If you were wondering why I didn't know when "y" is a vowel, it's because elementary never taught that.

    P.S.S. I apologize if this is in the wrong forum topic...

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is this correct for the anatomy of words?

    "Y" is a vowel when it has a vowel sound. It is a consonant when it has a consonant sound. It is no more complicated than that.

    yet, you, youth = consonant
    syllable, very, lovely = vowel

    BTW, "beautiful" has only 3 syllables, at least in AmE.

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    #3

    Re: Is this correct for the anatomy of words?

    It only has 3 in normal pronunciation in BrE too. It could take on a fourth when pronounced in an exaggerated way

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