A site for spellers, teachers of spelling and reading, and students of english words
cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader
cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader
 
cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader

Questions and Answers

>> Search questions and answers

Keyword or phrase:   
Topic: 
     or view all answers

Bulletin board

Dr. Cummins - Note from my son's teacher on syllable split of the word "divide". Any help? According to the syllable division rules of the English language, the word "divide" would be separated as follows dĭv-īde (1st syllable is closed) because the first vowel is a short sound, therefore the vowel must be followed by a consonant. If it were separated dī-vīde, the vowel “i” would be in an “open syllable”, which would make the vowel long. We don’t pronounce the word (die-vide).
There could be two things going on here:

First, the first syllable of divide is unstressed, so the first vowel sound is reduced— that is, it is not a full short <i>. Websters 3rd International Unabridged represents it with a special symbol (an upside down <e> with a dot over it) which they use to indicate a vowel sound ranging from schwa to reduced short <i>. The American Heritage Dictionary shows it as a short <i>, but since it is unstressed, it would still be reduced. And the rule about open syllables holds for long vowels and reduced vowels like schwa and that <i>. That is, reduced vowels can occur in open syllables.

Second, it may be that your sons teacher is looking at the syllable division in the entry for divide rather than the phonetic respelling. That syllable division is more concerned with how the word can be divided at lines end and is more sensitive to the elements of the written rather than the spoken word. The syllable division is [di+vide, the prefix being an intensifier and the base vide meaning to separate or divide. Probably if your sons teacher is dealing with open and closed syllables, this second point may not be at issue.

You asked a really good question. Thanks.

  cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader
cummings, spell, spelling, english, words, spellers, teachers, reading, read, reader