Difference between revisions of "Stress"

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{{Phonetics}}
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'''Stress''' is an extra force used when pronouncing a word or syllable. Stress can mean several things in [[English]] language teaching, depending on the context in which it is used.
'''Stress''' can mean many things in [[English]] depending on the context in which it is used.
 
  
 
==Word stress==
 
==Word stress==
"Stress" can refer to "word stress" - the position of the stressed syllable in the pronunciation of a particular word.
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''Main article: [[Word stress]].''
  
As a great number of words in English only have one syllable, in many cases corresponding to combinations of more than one vowel letter or consonant letter (go, eat, wait, eight, house, prince, friends, thieves, straight, etc.), it does not need a graphic accent for many of its words.  
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"Stress" can refer to "word stress" - the position of the stressed [[syllable]] in the [[pronunciation]] of a particular word.
  
But of course they do need word stress for longer words in general, on a different syllable than for the equivalent Spanish word, for example:
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A great number of words in English only have one syllable (for example ''go, eat, wait, eight, house, prince, friends, thieves, straight'', etc.). In these cases the stress can only be located in that syllable.
*
 
'''doc'''tor; '''ro'''bot; '''a'''nimal (BrE);
 
*
 
doc'''tor'''; ro'''bot'''; ani'''mal''' (Sp);
 
  
This is because English word stress is counted from the front of the word – Spanish word stress is from the end.
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In longer words the stresss can lie in any syllable:
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*First syllable: '''doc'''tor - '''an'''imal - '''dec'''orator
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*Second syllable: ho'''tel''' - de'''lete''' - im'''por'''tant - se'''cu'''rity
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*Third syllable: infor'''ma'''tion - under'''stand''' - eco'''nom'''ic
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*Fourth syllable: configu'''ra'''tion - experi'''men'''tal - responsi'''bil'''ity
  
===Some general rules:===
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==Sentence stress==
 
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"Stress" can refer to "sentence stress" in [[stress timed language]]s - the natural tendency to fully produce content words in such languages (such as English) and reduce other words to their [[weak form]]s.
* Nouns: two-syllable nouns often, but not always, have the stress on the first syllable:
 
'''af'''ter; '''cof'''fee; '''in'''crease; '''ex'''pert; '''mor'''ning; '''re'''cord; '''wa'''ter;
 
 
 
* Verbs:
 
**i. verbs with two syllables often, but not always, have the stress on the second:
 
a'''gree'''; ar'''rive'''; com'''pare'''; com'''plain'''; dis'''cuss'''; for'''get'''; im'''prove'''; in'''crease'''; in'''vite'''; sug'''gest'''; etc.;
 
but not: argue; happen; limit; visit;
 
 
 
**ii. when the stress is on the second syllable and the first syllable contains the letter '''e''', this letter is almost always pronounced / i /, as in begin /bigin/;
 
 
 
===Some typical verbs:===
 
become; believe; decide; declare; depend; enjoy; explain; prepare; pretend; prevent; receive; refer; refuse; regret; remain; remember; repeat; reply; report; respect; return; reveal; rewind, etc.;
 
 
 
This is particularly noticeable in many verbs which have the same spelling for the noun as in re'''cord''' – vb. and '''re'''cord – n.; ex'''port''' – vb. and '''ex'''port – n.;
 
but not: limit; visit;
 
 
 
iii. some other words with the first '''e''' pronounced like / i /:
 
between; defence; demand; departure; emotion; example; except; expensive; extinct; receipt; research; result, etc.;
 
 
 
iv. when the first '''e''' is the stressed syllable, it is usually pronounced /e/:
 
central; definitely; educate; effort; engine; enter; exercise; exit; expert; gentlemen; mental; pepper; recognise; rescue; second; secretary; sentence; yesterday, etc.;
 
 
 
Note the following exceptions:
 
'''Eng'''land / i /; '''Eng'''lish / i /; '''pret'''ty / i /; '''de'''cent / i=/; '''re'''cent / i=/; '''sec'''ret / i=/;
 
 
 
3. In many longer words, we only pronounce some of the syllables:
 
business – /bizniz/
 
chocolate – /choclt/
 
comfortable – /comftble/
 
different – /difrnt/
 
vegetable – /vegtble/
 
Wednesday – /wenzdi/;
 
  
4. In nouns ending -isation or -ization, we stress the /ei/:
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A simple example which highlights this phenomenon is as follows. Set a metronome clicking at twice per second, or alternatively just click your fingers, making sure you keep a steady rhythm. Next read aloud the sentences below from 1 to 4 while stressing the [[Content word|content words]] '''in bold''' on each click of the metronome (or your fingers):
organise – organi'''sa'''tion; privatise – privati'''sa'''tion; improvise – improvi'''sa'''tion; civilize – civili'''za'''tion;
 
  
While on the subject, as in all aspects of language, a constantly-evolving mode of communication among human beings, the stress on words can also shift over time.<ref>[http://davidcrystal.com/DC_articles/English86.pdf [[David Crystal|Crystal, David]] "A pronounced change in British speech"] PDF format</ref>
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#'''Cat''', '''frog''', '''leopard''', '''eagle'''.
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#A '''cat''', a '''frog''', a '''leopard''' an '''eagle'''.
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#A '''cat''' and a '''frog''' and a '''leopard''' and an '''eagle'''
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#A '''cat''' and then a '''frog''' and then a '''leopard''' and an '''eagle'''.
  
==Sentence stress==
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If the instructions are followed correctly, the structure words will be reduced to weak forms and the characteristics of a stress-timed language will be clearly demonstrated. [[Limericks]] can also be used to develop awareness of sentence stress due to their unique sentence stress pattern.
"Stress" can refer to "sentence stress" in [[stress timed language]]s - the natural tendency to fully produce content words in such languages (such as English) and reduce other words to their [[weak form]]s.
 
  
 
==Other forms of stress==
 
==Other forms of stress==
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In addition to the above forms of stress an English speaker can also use stress to impart additional information, emphasis or contrast.  
 
In addition to the above forms of stress an English speaker can also use stress to impart additional information, emphasis or contrast.  
  
In these cases stress can be added through greater loudness, higher pitch and longer duration or a combination of these. The full [[strong form]] of a non-content would would also count as stress under this definition.
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In these cases stress can be added through greater loudness, higher pitch and longer duration or a combination of these. Normally stress can be placed only on content words (verbs, nouns, adverbs, and adjectives) and pronouns (because they are used to replace a noun). Propositions, articles, conjunctions and interjections are seldom stressed. The full [[strong form]] of a non-content word would also count as "stress" under this definition.
  
 
===Emphatic stress===
 
===Emphatic stress===
  
Stress can refer to "emphatic stress" - where stress is placed on a particular [[word]] in a [[phrase]] for clarity or emphasis.  
+
Stress can refer to "emphatic stress" - where stress is placed on a particular [[word]] in a [[phrase]] for clarity or emphasis.
  
 
===Contrastive stress===
 
===Contrastive stress===
  
Stress can refer to "contrastive stress" - where stress is placed on a particular word to indicate a difference of opinion.  
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Stress can refer to "contrastive stress" - where stress is placed on a particular word to indicate a difference of opinion.
 +
 
 +
===Citation form===
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When a word is pronounced in isolation it is stressed. For example "I said ''men"'' /ˌaɪ ˌs{{e}}d ˈm{{e}}n/.
 +
 
 +
Non-content words are pronounced in their [[strong form]]. For example "I meant ''would'' /ˌaɪ ˌm{{e}}nt ˈwʊd/".
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
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*[[Syllable-timed language]]
 
*[[Syllable-timed language]]
  
 
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[[Category:Pronunciation]]
[[Category:pronunciation]]
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[[Category:Language]]
[[Category:linguistics]]
 

Revision as of 12:42, 27 February 2017

Stress is an extra force used when pronouncing a word or syllable. Stress can mean several things in English language teaching, depending on the context in which it is used.

Word stress

Main article: Word stress.

"Stress" can refer to "word stress" - the position of the stressed syllable in the pronunciation of a particular word.

A great number of words in English only have one syllable (for example go, eat, wait, eight, house, prince, friends, thieves, straight, etc.). In these cases the stress can only be located in that syllable.

In longer words the stresss can lie in any syllable:

  • First syllable: doctor - animal - decorator
  • Second syllable: hotel - delete - important - security
  • Third syllable: information - understand - economic
  • Fourth syllable: configuration - experimental - responsibility

Sentence stress

"Stress" can refer to "sentence stress" in stress timed languages - the natural tendency to fully produce content words in such languages (such as English) and reduce other words to their weak forms.

A simple example which highlights this phenomenon is as follows. Set a metronome clicking at twice per second, or alternatively just click your fingers, making sure you keep a steady rhythm. Next read aloud the sentences below from 1 to 4 while stressing the content words in bold on each click of the metronome (or your fingers):

  1. Cat, frog, leopard, eagle.
  2. A cat, a frog, a leopard an eagle.
  3. A cat and a frog and a leopard and an eagle
  4. A cat and then a frog and then a leopard and an eagle.

If the instructions are followed correctly, the structure words will be reduced to weak forms and the characteristics of a stress-timed language will be clearly demonstrated. Limericks can also be used to develop awareness of sentence stress due to their unique sentence stress pattern.

Other forms of stress

In addition to the above forms of stress an English speaker can also use stress to impart additional information, emphasis or contrast.

In these cases stress can be added through greater loudness, higher pitch and longer duration or a combination of these. Normally stress can be placed only on content words (verbs, nouns, adverbs, and adjectives) and pronouns (because they are used to replace a noun). Propositions, articles, conjunctions and interjections are seldom stressed. The full strong form of a non-content word would also count as "stress" under this definition.

Emphatic stress

Stress can refer to "emphatic stress" - where stress is placed on a particular word in a phrase for clarity or emphasis.

Contrastive stress

Stress can refer to "contrastive stress" - where stress is placed on a particular word to indicate a difference of opinion.

Citation form

When a word is pronounced in isolation it is stressed. For example "I said men" /ˌaɪ ˌsed ˈmen/.

Non-content words are pronounced in their strong form. For example "I meant would /ˌaɪ ˌment ˈwʊd/".

References


See also