Is there something like Syllable Dictionary?

Wr   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 04:15 GMT
50 /gw/ language, linguist, linguists, anguish, anguished

They're all the second syllables of these words.

Oh, there's ''guava''. The name of a kind of fruit.
Jim   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 05:43 GMT
Anyway, I called the rest of them common. That they are. Let's look at some examples. But first, I'm going to add one more. I'm adding it a the beginning of the list and I'm giving it the number zero. If any cluster deserves the number I've given it, this one deserves to be given the number zero. It's the most trivial cluster thinkable, in fact it's not really a cluster at all. It's nothing. Some say nothing comes from nothing but this isn't true when you're counting the syllables of the English language so it's worth the mention.

00 / / I am an odd old egg.
01 /p/ pat, pet, pit, put, pot, putt
02 /sp/ spot, spit, spat, sport, spurt, spout
03 /b/ bough, boy, bay, bee, buy, bow (to fire arrows)
04 /f/ fit, fat, foot, feet, fart, fort
05 /v/ vine, vest, vice, vile, vat, voice
06 /t/ tell, tells, told, tap, tip, top
07 /st/ sting, stings, stung, stab, stabs, stabbed
08 /d/ do, did, done, deal, deals, dealt
09 /th/ thin, thing, things, think, thinks, thought
10 /TH/ that, thy, thine, there, thence, this
11 /k/ kind, keep, kite, come, comb, cap
12 /sk/ scale, scales, skate, skates, scoff, scoffs
13 /g/ good, give, get, guess, guest, gold
14 /s/ sing, sang, sung, sit, sat, set
15 /z/ zoo, zone, zip, zoos, zones, zips
16 /S/ shit, ship, shin, shits, ships, shins,
17 /tS/ churn, chat, chip, churns, chats, chips,
18 /dZ/ jump, jumps, jumped, joke, jokes, joked
19 /n/ no, note, nose, noun, nice, near
20 /sn/ snail, snake, sniff, snails, snakes, sniffs
21 /m/ mat, map, mass, miss, mist, mast
22 /sm/ smell, small, smack, smut, smoke, smooth
23 /h/ had, head, hid, hood, hard, herd
24 /r/ rod, road, ride, rid, reed, red
25 /pr/ print, prince, price, prize, praise, pray
26 /spr/ spray, sprint, spring, springs, sprang, sprung,
27 /br/ bring, brings, brought, brag, brags, bragged
28 /fr/ frought, fright, freight, fruit, fret, frets
29 /tr/ trap, traps, trapped, try, tries, tried
30 /str/ strap, straps, strapped, strip, strips, stripped
31 /dr/ drink, drank, drunk, drive, drives, drove
32 /thr/ three, thrice, throat, throw, throws, thrown
33 /kr/ crab, crime, creep, crabs, crimes, creeps
34 /skr/ scribe, scream, scratch, scribes, screams, scratched
35 /gr/ gripe, grape, grapes, grope, gropes, groped
36 /Sr/ shrink, shrinks, shrank, shrunk, shred, shroud
37 /l/ life, live (adjective), lives (noun), live (verb), lives (verb), lived
38 /pl/ play, plays, played, plough, ploughs, ploughed
39 /spl/ spleen, splice, split, splat, splash, splosh
40 /bl/ blow, blows, blew, blown, blight, blind
41 /fl/ flag, flog, flame, flags, flogs, flames
42 /kl/ close, clash, claim, closed, clashed, claimed
43 /gl/ glue, glow, glee, gloom, gleam, glum
44 /sl/ slang, slay, slant, slam, slack, slag
45 /w/ was, were, west, with, wipe, wack
46 /tw/ twat, twerp, twit, twin, twice, twain
47 /dw/ dwell, dwells, dwelt, dwarf, dwarves, dweeb
48 /kw/ queen, quest, quizz, quark, quash, quick
49 /skw/ square, squad, squirt, squeeze, squeak, squawk

So there you go, fifty common initial consonant clusters (or single consonants or just nothing at all). And there you have half a dozen common monosyllabic words for each of them (without any homonyms). In other words there you have three hundered syllables that exist in English and I've barely even scratched the surface.

Actually /dw/ doesn't seem all that common either the only other syllable that I could think of starting with /dw/ was the /dwin/ of "dwindle".

Anyway, how about some more examples?

51 /sw/ swing, sweat, sweet, swoon, swat
52 /j/ yes, you, year, your, yeast, yeah, yob
53 /pj/ pew, pure
54 /spj/ spew
55 /bj/ beaut, beauty
56 /fj/ few, feud
57 /vj/ view
58 /kj/ cure, cute
59 /skj/ skew

The following may not be initial clusters for everyone. Cockneys tend to drop initial /h/s so 62 and 52 would be the same for them (as would 23 and 00). As for the other six, it is the /j/ which is often dropped especially in North America. In the case /sj/ most of us would drop the /j/ (not just North Americans) a few others might merge the /s/ and the /j/ into /S/ (maybe). Also, for many /tj/ and /dj/ become /tS/and /dZ/ respectively (this turns /stj/ into /stS/).

60 /nj/ new, news, newt
61 /mj/ mute, mule
62 /hj/ human, hew, huge
63 /tj/ tune, tumour
64 /stj/ or /stS/ stew, stupid
65 /dj/ dew, due, duke
67 /sj/ suit, super
Jim   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 06:27 GMT

Good point about "guava".

The "wh" words don't count for me either but I've included them anyway (number 71) because they count for some people. Not all of these people say [hw]. Some say [W]. I guess if you say [W] for "what", "when", "why", etc., then perhaps the [hw] in "Huang River" is phonemically distinct and would deserve to be added to the list.

94 /hw/ Huang River

I'd included /sj/, /lj/ and /rj/:

14 /s/ soot, soup
67 /sj/ suit, super

37 /l/ loot, loose
69 /lj/ lute, luce

24 /r/ rood, room
70 /rj/ rude, rheum, rule

But I'm not sure whether this is how these words are actually pronounced. Do these Welsh people pronounce them with /sj/s, /lj/s and /rj/s or is the distinction made in the vowel and/or final cluster? The same would go for /thj/, /trj/ and whatever else there might be. I mean, perhaps whilst "through" is still /thru:/, "threw" isn't /thrju:/ but more like /thriw/ and perhaps whilst "brood" is still /bru:d/, "brewed" isn't /brju:d/ but more like /briwd/. I can recall reading something along those lines.

I'm still wondering about your /Kt/ though.
Wr   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 14:56 GMT
Yeah, I don't think [Kt] belongs in the list of initial clusters because it can only end a word in a few dialects but not begin one.

93. /hw/ Huang River

And then what about the Welsh ''ll'' in ''Llwyd''?

94. /L/ Llwyd
Paul   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 15:25 GMT
You can include Juan for another example of 93. /hw/
Paul   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 15:33 GMT
Hi Jim

Thanks for posting a list of all the word initial common consonant clusters in English. I am making up a sample phonetically ordered dictionary for the Shavian Alphabet. And I didn't want to miss anything that is representative of common English pronunciation.

Regards, Paul V.

P.S. English does need a real Syllabic Alphabet.
I think it would be possible if you split off the Final Consonant Cluster unles it was a vocalic r, l, m, n or ng. Basing this on Chinese morpheme structure.
Wr   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 22:50 GMT
61 /mj/ mute, mule

Jim, [mj] is used by everyone, North America too.
George Washington   Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 22:58 GMT
Do the Scots pronounce ''choir'' as [Kwai..r]? If so, then there's [Kw]

95. [Kw]

Jim, do you think that in a phonemic spelling reform the Scottish distinction between ''c/k'' and ''ch'' should be shown?

Should ''chasm'', ''chlorine'', ''chemical'', technology'' etc. Become ''khazym'', ''khloreen'', ''khemicyl'', ''tekhnolyjy'' or something like that in a phonemic spelling reform

[K@z..m], [Klo:ri:n], [Kem..k..l], [teKnol..ji{:} etc.

See this thread - .
Wr   Thursday, June 24, 2004, 00:17 GMT
[Kt] doesn't count since it can never occur initially in any dialect.
Joe   Thursday, June 24, 2004, 00:34 GMT
''You're fond, Joe, of calling things stupid; do you call all Scottish people stupid?''

No, do you?
Jim   Thursday, June 24, 2004, 00:37 GMT
No, nut nor would I call pronouncing "wr" as /vr/ "stupid", given that there exists grounds for believing that this is exactly how it's pronounced in Scots.
Joe   Thursday, June 24, 2004, 00:39 GMT
Okay, that's good to know, nut.
Joe   Thursday, June 24, 2004, 00:41 GMT
George Washington Wannabe, It's not that possible to say [Kw]. So, how can they say ''choir'' that way?
Jim   Thursday, June 24, 2004, 00:44 GMT
The "nut" should be a "but".
Joe   Thursday, June 24, 2004, 00:45 GMT
Oh, For a minute there I thought you were calling me a nut.