Within a word, speech sounds are organized into one or more syllables. For example, "dan" (to give) is a monosyllable (i.e. it comprises a single syllable) while "berdan" (freed) is a disyllable (i.e. it consists of two syllables) and "awadan" (to furbish) is a trisyllable (i.e. it consists of three syllables). A syllable in Kurdish consists at the very minimum of a vowel, which is known as the nucleus of the syllable. Consonants and semivowels can occur only at the syllabic margins, i.e. before or after the nucleus. Therefore, and because vowels in most languages (including Kurdish) are auditorily the most prominent speech sounds, a sequence of syllables will represent a continuous undulation in prominence, with peaks at the nuclei and troughs at the margins.
Syllable boundaries in Kurdish are distributed in accordance with fixed rules. Thus a single consonant between vowels is syllable-initial (e.g. [po.ta.te] potate 'potato'), while two consecutive consonants are assigned to separate syllables (e.g. [Kur.dan] "Kurdan" (the Kurds), [ber.da] berda (release)).