I read on the inernet that:

A word of ONE phonetic syllable, a word of less than FIVE letters cannot be divided into syllabographgs, e.g. piece [p/i:s], time [tai/m].

Source: http://studopedia.net/10_45843_Lecture-.html

So, am I right to think that folloing words can’t be divided: eagle[ˈi/ːɡl], garden [ˈɡɑːd/(ə)n], sudden [ˈsʌd(ə)n], rhythm [ˈrɪ/ð(ə)m]. In most transcribted words (ə) is optional, so it doesn't count, right?

However such dictionaries as cambridge dictionaty or merriam-webster DO divide them into syllables, moreover in different ways.

eagle [ˈiː/ - ɡl]

garden [ˈɡɑ/ː - d(ə)n]

sudden [ˈsʌ/d - /(ə)n], [ˈsʌ/ - d(ə/)n]

rhythm [ˈr/ɪð - (ə)/m], [ˈrɪ/ - ð(ə/)m]

Can anyone clear this up for me?

Note: Phonetic (spoken) syllables must not be confused with orthographic (written) syllables. An orthgraphic syllable is a group of letters in spelling. Syllables in writing are also called syllabographs.

  • 1
    It comes down to the definition of "syllable". I consider those words disyllabic. This word has only four letters and is disyllabic: suet. So that internet source is wrong. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 8 '15 at 14:32
  • 1
    It's not wrong, it's just being misinterpreted. As you can see from the word syllabograph, it's talking about divisions in writing. As the page explains, this must be distinguished from syllabification in speech. – snailplane Apr 8 '15 at 14:44
  • It's not quite grammatical: A word of one phonetic syllable, a word of less than five letters cannot be divided into syllabographgs [sic], e.g. piece [pi:s], time [taim].. A missing "or"? If I wanted to hyphenate "suet" I would feel free to do so; any strictures against doing so are merely typographic conventions. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 8 '15 at 23:25

It means when writing or typing, don't hyphenate words five letters or less even if they have two syllables.

This prevents things like

I wanted to tell her a- 
bout my travels.
  • ea-gle; gar-den; sud-den; rhy-thm. Double consonants are split amongst syllables (run-ning, lad-der, lat-tice); consonant clusters/multi-letter single sounds (ch in hitch-es, sh in wash-es, ti in na-tion, etc.) are not. – LawrenceC Apr 8 '15 at 19:01

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