Phoneme vs. Syllable

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Main Difference

The main difference between Phoneme and Syllable is that the Phoneme is a basic unit of phonology and Syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds.

  • Phoneme (noun)

    An indivisible unit of sound in a given language. A phoneme is an abstraction of the physical speech sounds (phones) and may encompass several different phones.

  • Syllable (noun)

    A unit of human speech that is interpreted by the listener as a single sound, although syllables usually consist of one or more vowel sounds, either alone or combined with the sound of one or more consonants; a word consists of one or more syllables.


  • Syllable (noun)

    The written representation of a given pronounced syllable.

  • Syllable (noun)

    A small part of a sentence or discourse; anything concise or short; a particle.

  • Syllable (verb)

    To utter in syllables.

  • Phoneme (noun)

    any of the perceptually distinct units of sound in a specified language that distinguish one word from another, for example p, b, d, and t in the English words pad, pat, bad, and bat.

  • Syllable (noun)

    a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; for example, there are two syllables in water and three in inferno.

  • Syllable (noun)

    a character or characters representing a syllable.

  • Syllable (noun)

    the least amount of speech or writing; the least mention of something

    "I'd never have breathed a syllable if he'd kept quiet"

  • Syllable (verb)

    pronounce (a word or phrase) clearly, syllable by syllable.

Oxford Dictionary
Webster Dictionary
  • Phoneme (noun)

    (linguistics) one of a small set of speech sounds that are distinguished by the speakers of a particular language

  • Syllable (noun)

    a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme;

    "the word `pocket' has two syllables"

Princeton's WordNet

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