The syllable is a group of sounds in the natural flow of speech, which may make in a train the speaker. The syllable nucleus ( nucleus, syllabic peak ) is the moment of greatest sonority of a syllable and thus their sonoranter main part ( " segment with the highest prominence "). In general, this is a vowel syllable peaks. If no vowel is present, the syllable nucleus is situated on a liquid consonant ( liquid ) or a fricative ( fricative ). The syllable as the smallest free phonological unit has exactly one nucleus. Consonantal Satellitenphoneme ( syllable and syllable coda ) can surround the nucleus. A larger phonological unit may have multiple syllable peaks.

A syllable nucleus in the simplest case consists of exactly one vowel. In most languages, is found as a syllable peak slightest variation of two vowels and thus consists of a diphthong. Less common are also Triphthong, thus a direct consequence of three vowels or semi-vowels in the nucleus, syllabic peak operational. The diacritic of the IPA is a small line under the sign. An example in English would [be ː tn ] for praying.


  • Vowel as a syllable peak in Dt. Hook, change, read, have
  • Hiatus shifts the peak in Dt. "Chaotic"
  • A liquidation as a nucleus in Dt. Devil, Croatian Krk
  • Sonoranter a consonant ( sonorant, here's a nasal ) as a syllable peak in Dt. " Have ", " run ", " read ", " change" or in Swahili " mtu " for " man "
  • A fricative as hissing syllable nucleus in Dt. " Psst "
  • A Triphthong in Engl "hire " or " flour"

Phonotactic classification

The phonology of a language divides the speech sounds a phonological Sonoritätsklassen which are relatively each other. The Syllabizität a speech sound is not an intrinsic, context- free characteristic of a segment, but the comparative results of the syntagmatic contrast of sonority segment with reasonable compared to other segments with sounds of lower sonority. A sound is syllabic, if it has a syllable nucleus.

Reference to Sonoritätsprinzip

The Sonoritätsprinzip states that the sonority of each syllable to syllable peaks increases every now and then decreases again.


Nucleus and coda ( final position ) together constitute the rhyme.


The syllable nucleus is the bearer of the accent. The German language has final accent. See also accent ( pronunciation ).

Accent distribution rule

The Latin accent distribution rule stipulates that in one word with at least three syllables to stress the penultimate syllable if it is heavy. Otherwise, the third to last syllable is stressed. (See syllable weight).


  • Joseph H. Greenberg: Some generalizations Concerning initial and final consonant clusters. 1978
  • Joseph H. Greenberg (ed.) Universals of human language. 1978, p 243-279
  • Helmut Glück ( ed.): Metzler Lexikon Sprache. 2000
  • Christian Ebert: [ syllable phonology (PDF) ], 2005
  • Judith My Schaefer: syllable and sonority in language and brain, 1998, pp. 26-76