Stress-timed language

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A stress-timed language is a language in which the language stress falls on the content words of the language - the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. The other parts of speech - conjunctions, pronouns, modal verbs etc are reduced to weak forms in order to not disrupt the flow of the stress timing.

Standard English is a stress-timed language, although the degree of stress-timing may vary with the accent used. For example, Noah Webster's influence may have resulted in General American perhaps being less stress-timed than British English.

Currently the difference between a stress-timed language and a syllable-timed language is regarded to be a perception rather that a reality.[1][2]


  1. Elsevier, Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World, pp. 328-329.
  2. Wikipedia, Isochrony. Retrieved 20 April 2016.