Syllables and Accents
Syllables can be considered as building blocks of words. They typically consist of a vowel, with optional consonants before and after the vowel.
Stress refers to the relative emphasis given to the syllables of a word. The way stresses are placed on words depends both on the word and on the surrounding syllables. This is highly language dependent. Some of the ways syllables can exhibit accent, or stress are as follows:
- pitch accent (musical accent, tone) - the pitch of a syllable is higher or lower than the surrounding syllables;
- dynamic accent (loudness) - the volume of a syllable is louder than the surrounding syllables;
- qualitative accent (full vowels);
- quantitative accent (longer, more drawn out).
Accents are placed on syllables within the lines of a poem, and the accent pattern of groupings is used to determine the meter (beat) of the poem. Accents can be described in the following terms:
- long or short;
- stressed or unstressed;
- accented or nonaccented.
|Number of syllables in word||Descriptive Term||Examples|
|monosyllable||one syllable words||monosyllabic||Dogs|
|disyllable||two syllable words||disyllabic or polysyllabic||Canines|
-> Ca + nines
|trisyllable||three syllable words||trisyllabic or polysyllabic||Parakeet|
->Par + a + keet
|polysyllable||more than three syllables||polysyllabic||mesothelioma|
-> mes + o + the + li + o + ma
Line length, as defined by the number of syllables
|Length Name||Number of Syllables|