American English Phonetics

Another American English Faculty Project

Every syllable consists of a peak, which may be followed by a coda and preceded by an onset. The peak is the vowel. The coda contains maximally four consonants, and the onset maximally three. The following table illustrates these constituents for a number of one-syllable words.

pot p ɑː t
spew spj
ill ɪ l
lie l
awe ɑː
twelfths tw ɛ lfθs

The syllabification of GA words is governed by two rules. These are:

  1. The Maximum Onset Principle (MOP)
  2. The Weak Syllable Principle (WSP).

In addition, there is one rule which can build syllables across words. This rule is called Liaison.