A syllable (from the Greek συλλαβή, syn = 'co, together' + labe = 'grasp', thus meaning a handful [of letters]) is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants). Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic meter and its stress patterns.


1   Substance


In most theories of phonology, the general structure of a syllable (σ) consists of three segments: an onset (consonant, obligatory in some languages, optional or even restricted in others), a nucleus (sonorant, obligatory in most languages), and a coda (consonant, optional in some languages, highly restricted or prohibited in others).