- Volume 8 Issue 2
This study explores the phoneme distribution and syllable structure of entry words in the CMU English Pronouncing Dictionary to provide phoneticians and linguists with fundamental phonetic data on English word components. Entry words in the dictionary file were syllabified using an R script and examined to obtain the following results: First, English words preferred consonants to vowels in their word components. In addition, monophthongs occurred much more frequently than diphthongs. When all consonants were categorized by manner and place, the distribution indicated the frequency order of stops, fricatives, and nasals according to manner and that of alveolars, bilabials and velars according to place. These results were comparable to the results obtained from the Buckeye Corpus (Yang, 2012). Second, from the analysis of syllable structure, two-syllable words were most favored, followed by three- and one-syllable words. Of the words in the dictionary, 92.7% consisted of one, two or three syllables. This result may be related to human memory or decoding time. Third, the English words tended to exhibit discord between onset and coda consonants and between adjacent vowels. Dissimilarity between the last onset and the first coda was found in 93.3% of the syllables, while 91.6% of the adjacent vowels were different. From the results above, the author concludes that an analysis of the phonetic symbols in a dictionary may lead to a deeper understanding of English word structures and components.
CMU English Pronouncing Dictionary;phoneme distribution;syllable structure;discord
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