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How do you break words into syllables?

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Quick Answer

Divide words into syllables based on the number of voiced vowel sounds they contain. Silent vowels and the second vowel of diphthongs don't count towards this total. Additionally, break words into syllables between two distinct middle consonant sounds. Words that end in "-ckle" have a syllable break before the "-le," while those ending only in "-le" divide before it if preceded by a consonant.

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Full Answer

Additionally, morphemic constructs such as prefixes, suffixes and compound words break into syllables apart from the root word, known as the stem. The word "sportscar," for example, consists of two one-syllable words, "sports" and "car," that create one two-syllable compound. Likewise, the two-syllable word "teacher" consists of a one-syllable stem, "teach," as well as a one-syllable suffix, "-er."

A syllable, which organizes groups of speech sounds in a word, consists of a nucleus, typically a vowel, and optional margins generally made of consonants. Syllabic onsets are the margins that precede a nucleus, while a coda is the sound that follows it.

One-syllable words, called monosyllabic, always provide an linguistic emphasis, known as a stress, on the voiced vowel. Polysyllabic words, conversely, may contain one or more unstressed syllables in addition to a stressed one. Additionally, words with multiple syllables feature an initial syllable, a final syllable and any number of interval syllables.

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