Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The mora is a unit of sound. It is between a segment and a syllable. A syllable with one mora is monomoraic. If it has two moras, it is bimoraic.

A short syllable has one mora and a long syllable has two. The onset of the syllable never has a mora. The nucleus has one mora if the vowel is short and two if the vowel is long or is a diphthong. In many languages, the syllable coda is also a mora. For example, the English word "cat" is bimoraic.

Japanese speakers are very much aware of the mora. In fact, the Japanese haiku poem consists of 17 moras divided into verses of 5, 7 and 5. "Tokyo" has two syllables but four moras because the two vowels are long- to-o-kyo-o. "Osaka" has three syllables but also four moras- o-o-sa-ka. "Sapporo" also has four moras- sa-p-po-ro.

Hungarian is a language which can have short and long consonants in the syllable coda. For example, "megy" is the verb "goes" and "meggy" is "sour cherry". The word "megy" has two moras and "meggy" has three.

Moras are closely connected to duration and syllable weight. If a syllable has no coda, it is a light syllable. If it has a coda, it is a heavy syllable. However, a syllable that ends in a diphthong can be classified as light but has two moras as in "day" and "my".

The mora is a unit of sound which is often associated with syllables. It is possible for a syllable to have more than one mora. Japanese is one language which is famous for its use of moras. They are the units used for writing haiku.


Anna said...

Hi I read your post and I liked what you said about the common families in the world, but what I'd liked to say is that I'm from Brazil and my surname is Zsoldos like Zsoldos a common name in Hungarian? Tnks.

Les Zsoldos said...

Hi! Thanks for reading my blog. It's great to hear from you. The surname Zsoldos isn't very common in Hungarian but it's common in my dad's village. The name Zsoldos means mercenary in Hungarian. Nunca tenho visitado o Brasil mas quero visitar algum dia. Voce e de que parte? Acho que deve ser um pais muito bonito.

Erika said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erika said...

Actually my name is Erika. I was using a fake e-mail before!

Erika said...

Hi I appreciate your portuguese. I'm from the state of São Paulo, I live in a city next the capital. And you, what part are you from? My grandfather was hungarian and my grandmother was germany's daughter, but she was born here in Brazil, in Rio Janeiro. What is the name of your dad's village? Tnks.

Les Zsoldos said...

I'm from Vancouver, Canada but I live in Korea now. I'm in a city close to Seoul but I'm moving to Seoul very soon. The name of my dad's village is Bejcgyertyanos. It's in Vas County, a county that borders Austria. His village is close to the border. He escaped from Hungary in 1956, during the Hungarian Revolution.

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