STUDY OF ENGLISH STRESS AND INTONATION STRESS In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. Understanding Syllables To understand word stress, it helps to understand syllables. Every word is made from syllables. Each word has one, two, three or more syllables. Word Number of syllables
Dog Quiet Dog Qui.et 1 2 Expensive Ex.pen.sive 3 Interesting In.ter.est.ing 4
Unexceptional Un.ex.cep.tion.al 5 Prominence: A syllable might be more prominent by differing from the surrounding syllables in terms of: loudness pitch The realization of stress in English
In English, the three ways to make a syllable more prominent are to make it: louder longer higher pitched (usually) For some words, changing which syllable is stressed can change the meaning of a word. In English, stress is most dramatically realized on focussed or accented words. For instance, consider the dialogue
"Is it brunch tomorrow?" "No, it's dinner tomorrow." In it, the stress-related acoustic differences between the syllables of "tomorrow" would be small compared to the differences between the syllables of "dinner", the emphasized word. In these emphasized words,
stressed syllables such as "din" in "dinner" are louder and longer. They may also have a different fundamental frequency, or other properties. Unstressed syllables typically have a vowel which is closer to a neutral position, while stressed vowels are more fully CONTRASTIVE STRESS In contrastive contexts, any lexical item in an utterance can receive the tonic stress provided that the contrastively stressed item can be contrastable in that universe of speech. No distinction exists between content and function words regarding this. The contrasted item receives the tonic stress provided that it is contrastive with some lexical element (notion.)
in the stimulus utterance. Syllables that are normally stressed in the utterance almost always get the same treatment they do in non-emphatic contexts.) EXAMPLES Consider the following examples: a) Do you like this one or THAT one? b) b) I like THIS one. Many other larger contrastive contexts (dialogues) can be found or worked out, or even selected from literary works for a study of contrastive stress. Consider the following: She played the piano yesterday. (It was her who...)
She played the piano yesterday. (She only played (not. harmed) ...) She played the piano yesterday. (It was the piano that...) She played the piano yesterday. (It was yesterday..) NEW INFORMATION STRESS In a response given to a wh-question, the information supplied, naturally enough, is stressed,. That is, it is pronounced with more breath force, since it is more prominent against a background given information in the question. a) What's your NAME b) My name's GEORGE. a) Where are you FROM? b) I'm from NEW YORK. a) Where do you LIVE b) I live in BRAZIL. a) When does the school term END
b) It ends in MAY. a) What do you DO b) I'm a STUdent. TIMING: English is a stress-timed language; that is, stressed syllables appear at a roughly constant rate, and non-stressed syllables are shortened to accommodate this. PLACEMENT: English does this to some extent with nounverb pairs such as a rcord vs. to recrd, where the verb is stressed on the last syllable and the related noun is stressed on the first; record also hyphenates differently: a rc.ord vs. to re.crd. DEGRESS OF STRESS: Primary stress: It is the stronger degree of stress.
Primary stress gives the final stressed syllable. stress is Primary Secondary stress:
very important in words. Itcompound is the weaker of two degrees of stress in the pronunciation of a word. Secondary stress gives the other lexically stressed syllables in a word. Secondary stress is important primarily in long words with several syllables TWO WORD STRESS Knowing when and where to stress the words you use is very
important for understanding, and therefore, as part of a good accent. A clear example is that of stress in two word expressions. According to whether it is an ordinary two-word expression or a special, set expression, the place of the stress changes. In an ordinary expression the two words are used to describe something like a "white HOUSE" (meaning a house that is painted white, and not blue or gray). In this case the most important note is the noun because we are talking about a house that happens to be white. But sometimes short two word expressions are set or "consecrated", (that is, they mean something special) and
have to be made different from similar expressions. One example is "the WHITE house" where Mr. Obama lives. In this case, the emphasis is on the adjective because we are more interested in stressing that it is the house that is known because it is white. It will be useful for you to be aware of both types of two word expressions. Here is a list of a few that will get you thinking and give you some practice in identifying them and using them correctly. Underline the syllable that is stressed, and write a brief explanation, for both uses of each phrase. I start the
exercise with two examples. You do the rest. Make sure you say the phrases OUT LOUD! white HOUSE House painted white LIGHT bulb Shines with electricity Light BULB
A bulb that is not heavy NOTATION: Different systems exist for indicating syllabification and stress. In IPA, primary stress is indicated by a high vertical line before the syllable, secondary stress by a low vertical line. Example: [slbfken] or /slbfken/. In English dictionaries which do not use IPA, stress is typically marked with a prime mark placed after the stressed syllable: /si-lab--fi-key-shn/.z RULES OF
WORD STRESS IN There are two very simple rules about word stress: One word has only one stress. (One word cannot have two stresses. If you hear two stresses, you hear two words. Two stresses cannot be in one word. It is true that there can be a "secondary" stress in some words. But a secondary stress is much smaller than the main [primary] one, and is only used in long words. We can only stress vowels, not consonants. ENGLISH
INTONATION: In linguistics, intonation is the variation of pitch when speaking. Intonation and stress are two main elements of linguistic prosody. Intonation is the "music" of a language, and is perhaps the most important element of a good accent. Often we hear someone speaking with perfect grammar, and perfect formation of the sounds of English but with a little something that gives them away as not being a
native speaker. Intonation the rise and fall of pitch in our voices plays a crucial role in how we express meaning. INTONATION CONTOURS IN ENGLISH Not all rises and falls in pitch that occur in the course of an English phrase can be attributed to stress. The same set of segments and word stresses can occur with a number of pitch patterns. Consider the difference between: You're going. (statement) You're going? (question) The rise and fall of pitch throughout is called its intonation
contour. English has a number of intonation patterns which add conventionalized meanings to the utterance: question, statement, surprise, disbelief, sarcasm, teasing. An important feature of English intonation is the use of an intonational accent (and extra stress) to mark the focus of a sentence. Normally this focus accent goes on the last major word of the sentence, but it can come earlier in order to emphasize
one of the earlier words or to contrast it with something else. TONE A unit of speech bounded by pauses has movement, of music and rhythm, associated with the pitch of voice. This certain pattern of voice movement is called 'tone'. A tone is a certain pattern, not an arbitrary one, because it is meaningful in discourse. By means of tones, speakers signal whether to refer, proclaim, agree, disagree, question or hesitate, or indicate completion and continuation of turn-taking, in speech. CROSS-LINGUISTIC DIFFERENCES People have a tendency to think of intonation as
being directly linked to the speaker's emotions. In fact, the meaning of intonation contours is as conventionalized as any other aspect of language. Different languages can use different conventions, giving rise to the potential for cross-cultural misunderstandings. Two examples of cross-linguistic differences in intonation patterns:
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