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Word stress

In almost all languages, there is a variation in the relative prominence of syllables. The prominence of syllables is referred to as stress. It is a function of pitch, duration/length/loudness, and quality. In different languages one of the factors is usually more significant than the others. Depending upon which factor is the principal one in giving prominence to a syllable, word stress in languages may be of different types. 1. If special prominence is achieved through the increased loudness (i.e. intensity of articulation), such word stress is termed DYNAMIC. 2. If special prominence in a stressed syllable is achieved mainly through the change of pitch, such type of word stress is MUSICAL, or TONIC. 3. QUANTITATIVE stress is when prominence is achieved through the changes in the quantity of vowels, i.e. their duration. 4. QUALITATIVE stress is when the stressed vowel is made prominent due to its clear and distinct character.

There are languages which do not have word stress, such as Evenk, or Kalmyk, but many languages combine various types of words stress. Russian displays qualitative, quantitative and dynamic features. Word stress in Ancient Greek used to be tonic, but is characterized as dynamic in Modern Greek. Scandinavian languages make use of both dynamic and tonic stresses in more or less equal degree. Oriental languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean are tonic In English prominence is achieved due to increased duration, loudness and higher pitch, i.e. quantitative, tonic and dynamic stressing.

Some languages have fixed stress, associated with a certain syllable in a word. In Finnish, Czech, Latvian stress always falls on the first syllable, in Turkish on the final syllable of the root form, in French on the final syllable in the word. In English, Russian stress placement is free in that different words can have different stress pattern.

20. THE STRESS PATTERN OF ENGLISH WORDS. TENDENCIES. RULES.

Any word with more than one syllable has a word stress. The stress pattern of a word reflects the distribution of prominence among its syllables. In words that have one stress, the latter is called primary stress. In longer words, it is possible to pick out a second, weaker stressed syllable that bears secondary stress notated as low mark eg . . The correlation of stressed and unstressed syllables of PHOTOGRAPHIC can be represented as can be represented as ┬ ─ ┴ ─ , of DIMINISH as ─ ┴ ─ Two main tendencies determine the place and different degrees of word stress in English: the RECESSIVE tendency and the RHYTHMIC tendency.

The oldest of the English word accentuation tendencies is the RECESSIVE tendency, characteristic of all Germanic languages. It originally consisted in placing the word stress on the initial syllable of nouns, adjectives, and verbs and on the root syllable of words which belonged to other parts of speech and had a prefix. The recessive accent in Modern English is of two types: UNRESTRICTED and RESTRICTED (by an unstressed prefix). UNRESTRICTED recessive accent falls on the first (root) syllable, as in words FATHER, MOTHER, HUSBAND. RESTRICTED recessive accent falls on the second (root) syllable of native English words with a prefix which has lost its meaning: AMONG, BECOME, FORGET, INDEED. Under the influence of the native English tendency to unrestricted recessive stress, all the disyllabic and trisyllabic words borrowed from French until the 15th century underwent accentual assimilation: the original accent on the final syllable of loan words and gradually shifted to the beginning: COLOUR, MARRIAGE, REASON< etc. In Chaucers poems we find such free accentual variants as REASON and REASON. Loan words with prefixes which have no particular meaning now also have restricted recessive stress: CONDUCT, DEPEND, SURPRISE.
The RHYTHMIC tendency can be accounted for the presence in English of a great number of monosyllabic words, some of which are stressed (notional) words, others are not (form words). Such phenomenon has created the English rhythm, consisting of alternating stressed and unstressed syllables This tendency has caused the appearance in borrowed polysyllabic words of a secondary stress on the syllable separated from the word-final principal stress by an unstressed syllable. The words began to be pronounced in isolation on the model of short phrases in which a stressed syllable alternated with an unstressed one. Thus the word RADICAL originally had a stress on the final syllable RADICAL- but later it received the recessive stress on the initial syllable, while the final stress was still retained. The result of it was the typically English alternation of a stressed syllable with an unstressed one. For some time this and similar words had two stresses but gradually the word-final stress began to weaken and disappeared. Thus in tri-syllabic words there remained only one strong stress on the third syllable from the end of the word. The tendency to stress the third syllable from the end was extended to four-syllable words as well, and this stress is called RHYTHMICAL. Strictly speaking, the stress in such words as RADICAL, FAMILY, CINEMA, is rhythmical only in its origin, because in Modern English there is no alternation of a stressed syllable with an unstressed one in these words. The stress here is called HYSTORICALLY RHYTHMICAL In Modern English there is also GENINELY RHYTHMICAL stress. This is the secondary stress on the second PRETONIC syllable in words like PRO,NUNCIATION, E,XAMINATION, RE,LIABILITY, etc. There is also a RETENTIVE tendency which consists in the retention of the stress of the parent word in the derivatives. More commonly it is kept in the parent word as a secondary accent, e.g., PERSON PERSONAL ,PERSONALITY.

The SEMANTIC factor can also condition the place and the degree of stress. The meaningful prefixes UN-, MIS-, EX-, UDNER-, etc, (UNKNOWN, EXWIFE, UNDERESTIMATE), or semantically more important part of a compound word get more prominence: BUTTONHOLE, TONGUETWISTER.

21. WORD STRESS RULES.

There are some fairly regular word stress patterns (although there will often be exceptions)
1. In two-syllable verbs: a/ if the second syllable of the verb contains a long vowel or a diphthong, or if it ends with more than one consonant, the second syllable is stressed. Examples: APPLY, COMPLETE, ARRIVE, RESIST, OBJECT
b/ if the final syllable contains a short vowel and one (or no) final consonant, the first syllable is stressed. Examples: ENTER, OPEN, EQUAL, BORROW, PROFIT
Exceptions to this rule include ADMIT and PERMIT (verb).
3. There are some suffixes (or word endings) that usually carry stress.
Words with these endings usually carry stress on the last syllable:
-ain ENTERTAIN /// -ee REFUGEE /// -eer MOUNTAINEER /// -ese PORTUGUESE
-ette CIGARETTE (NB American English would stress the first syllable)
5. The suiffixes ion, -ious/-eous, -ity, -ify, -ive, -ible, -igible, -ish, -graphy, -meter, -logy, require stress to be on the preceding syllable:
-ion/-ian
DECISION, EDITION, MAGICIAN, CANADIAN;-ious /-eous CONTENTIOUS, COURAGEOUS; -ity QUALITY, SIMPLICITY, NATIONALITY; -ify TERRIFY, JUSTIFY, IDENTIFY; -ive EXTENSIVE -ible INCREDIBLE, TERRIBLE, -igible NEGLIGIBLE, INTELLIGIBLE; -ish PUBLISH, FINISH, FURNISH, - graphy PHOTOGRAPHY, BIOGRAPHY
-meter THERMOMETER /// -logy BIOLOGY, TECHNOLOGY, IDEOLOGY

6. Words of two syllables ending in -ate place the accent on -ate eg,: TRANSLATE, DICTATE, DEBATE, whereas words of three or more syllables ending in -ate have the main accent on the third syllable from the end. E.g.: NEGOTIATE, INDICATE, IRRITATE.

7. In compound words or words made up of two elements, there are again some general patterns.: If the first element of the word is a noun, then the stress normally goes on the first element: TYPEWRITER, FRUIT-CAKE, SUITCASE, SCREWDRIVER, TEACUP, SUNRISE. If the first part is an adjective, then the stress goes on the second part: ˌLOUDSPEAKER, ˌBAD-TEMPERED, ˌBLACK MARKET, ˌSECOND-CLASS, ˌTHREE-WHEELER.

 




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