Neil Bowers
and 1 contributors


Lingua::EN::Syllable - count the number of syllables in English words


  use Lingua::EN::Syllable;

  $count = syllable('supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'); # 14


Lingua::EN::Syllable::syllable() estimates the number of syllables in the word passed to it.

Note that it isn't entirely accurate... it fails (by one syllable) for about 10-15% of my /usr/dict/words. The only way to get a 100% accurate count is to do a dictionary lookup, so this is a small and fast alternative where more-or-less accurate results will suffice, such as estimating the reading level of a document.

I welcome pointers to more accurate algorithms, since this one is pretty quick-and-dirty. This was designed for English (well, American at least) words, but sometimes guesses well for other languages.


Accuracy for words with non-alpha characters is somewhat undefined. In general, punctuation characters, et al, should be trimmed off before handing the word to syllable(), and hyphenated compounds should be broken into their separate parts.

Syllables for all-digit words (eg, "1998"; some call them "numbers") are often counted as the number of digits. A cooler solution would be converting "1998" to "nineteen eighty eight" (or "one thousand nine hundred eighty eight", or...), but that is left as an exercise for the reader.

Contractions are not well supported.

Compound words (like "lifeboat"), where the first word ends in a silent 'e' are counted with an extra syllable.


Lingua::Phonology - a framework of classes that provide "an object model for lingistic phonology and sound change". That includes syllables, and it looks like you can use it to get syllables for words, but from a quick skim of the doc I can't see exactly how.

Text::Info - a new module (as of late 2015) that provides information about text in Germanic languages, including syllable count.



This software is copyright (c) 1999 by Greg Fast <>

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.


Greg Fast (