WORD STRESS PATTERNS IN ENGLISH

Hallo guys, in here, I want to share about my assignment of Phonetic. I will explain about the Word Stress.

In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.

It is common for stressed and unstressed syllables to behave differently as a language evolves. For example, in the Romance languages, the original Latin short vowels /e/ and /o/ have generally become diphthongs when stressed. Since stress takes part in verb conjugation, this has produced verbs with vowel alternation in the Romance languages. For example, the Spanish verb volver has the form volví in the past tense but vuelvo in the present tense (see Spanish irregular verbs). Italian shows the same phenomenon but with /o/ alternating with /uo/ instead. This behaviour is not confined to verbs; for example, Spanish viento “wind”, from Latin ventum.

In multi-syllable words the stress falls on one of the syllables while the other syllables tend to be spoken over quickly. This leads to sounds that are not clear (muted) on unstressed syllables. In order to improve your pronunciation, focus on pronouncing the stressed syllable clearly. However, don’t be afraid to “mute” (not say clearly) the other unstressed vowels. Listen to the examples by clicking on “listen”. Return to this page using the “back” button on your browser.

In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence.

For example:

PersonNEL
TOtally
InDUstrial
ToMAto
FanTAstic

Unstressed syllables keep the correct sound, but sound muted. Sometimes, unstressed vowels become a schwa sound – like a soft “uh” sound.

For example:

Little
Repeat
Tomato

At other times, the vowel is pronounced but not stressed.

For example:

Industrial
Noisily

With This in Mind, Here Are the Eight Common Word Stress Patterns in English

One Syllable – Stressed

All one syllable words have the stress on the one syllable. The intonation should go down.

EAT
DRINK
SIGN
WELL

Two Syllable – First Syllable Stressed

GIant
PICture
HEAting

Two Syllable – Second Syllable Stressed

toDAY
aHEAD
aLLOW 

Three Syllable – First Syllable Stressed

ENergy
Operate
ORganize

Three Syllable – Second Syllable Stressed

meMORial
aSSUMPtion
caNAdian

Three Syllable – Third Syllable Stressed

employEE
japanESE
voluntEER

Four Syllable – Second Syllable Stressed

psyCHOLogy
eVAporate
cerTIficate

Four Syllable – Third Syllable Stressed

indiVIdual
reputation

Some ‘Rules’ Of Word Stress

There are patterns in word stress in English but, as a rule (!), it is dangerous to say there are fixed rules. Exceptions can usually be found.

  • Here are some general tendencies for word stress in English:

Word

Type of word

Tendency

Exceptions

apple
table
happy

two-syllable nouns and adjectives

stress on the first syllable
O o
apple

hotel
lagoon

suspect
import
insult

words which can be used as both
nouns and verbs

the noun has stress on the first syllable
O o
“You are the suspect!”
the verb has stress on the second syllable
o O
“I suspect you.”

respect
witness

hairbrush
football

compound nouns

fairly equally balanced but with stronger stress
on the first part
O o
hairbrush

Word Stress

  • A multi-syllable word has a prominent syllable. This is called a stressed syllable.
  • Stressed syllable is longer in duration, higher in pitch, and louder in volume.
  • Duration is the primary attribute to the prominence of a syllable.
  • Usually 2 syllable nouns (90 %+) have the stress on the first syllable; 2 syllable verbs (60 %+) have the stress on the second.
  • Except for the compounds, stressed syllables in words with more than 2 syllables never stand next to each other (Stressed syllables and weak syllables alternate).

When a word has more than one syllable, one is more prominent than the others. When this happens, we say that the syllable has a stress, or that it is stressed. In the following examples, stressed syllables are expressed with boldface.

Word pattern
tea.cher • .
beau.ti.ful • . .
un.der.stand . . •
con.ti.nue . • .
con.ti.nu.a.tion . • . • .
black.board • •

When a syllable is stressed, it is pronounced;

  • longer in duration
  • higher in pitch, and
  • louder in volume

Consider the following two-syllable words. Underline the stronger syllable.

Two-syllable words
noun Verb
Produce
Pervert
Record
convert
Present
conflict
Conduct
Project
Contrast
contract

(This list is taken from Avery and Ehrlich, 1992, p. 68)

As you can see, the nouns typically have the first syllable stressed, whereas verbs have the stressed second syllable. 90% two-syllable nouns and 60% two-syllable verbs follow this pattern (Avery and Ehrlich, 1992).

Look at the following three syllable words. Consider the stress patterns.

Three-syllable words
• . . . • . • . •
in.stru.ment com.mer.cial ar.ti.choke
ca.len.dar va.nil.la hur.ri.cane
cu.ri.ous de.ve.lop ap.pe.tite
sen.ti.ment as.to.nish cro.co.dile
do.cu.ment op.po.nent con.gre.gate

(This list is taken from Avery and Ehrlich, 1992, p. 68)

Four-syllable words
• . . . • .
pos.si.bi.li.ty com.mer.cial
ca.len.dar va.nil.la
cu.ri.ous de.ve.lop
sen.ti.ment as.to.nish
do.cu.ment op.po.nent

Source : Wikipedia

About Reza Ajie Saputra
I am a researcher of educational process. This blog has made to support my research.

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