Syllabic consonant

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lesson [ˈlesn̩]

A syllabic consonant is a consonant that forms a syllable on its own, or is the first consonant in a syllable with no vowels. The symbol of a syllabic consonant is a small vertical line below (as in n̩ ).[1] This line is often omitted.

  • Syllabic /m/: rhythm /ˈrɪðəm/ [ˈrɪðəm] or [ˈrɪðm̩].
Most dictionaries, even those that use syllabic /n/ and syllabic /l/, don't use syllabic /m/. However some people can ommit the schwa in their pronunciation.
  • Some people pronounce a syllabic /ŋ/, as in lock and key pronounced [ˌlɒk ŋ̍ ˈkiː]. In this case the small vertical line is written above the letter.
  • Syllabic /r/: nurse /nɜːrs/ [nɹ̩s, nɝs], letter /ˈletər/ [ˈletɹ̩, ˈletɚ].[2]

References[edit]

  1. Wikipedia's IPA chart.
  2. Tomasz P. Szynalski, Things you should know about phonetic transcription.