Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Difference between Word Stress and Sentence Stress

Dear Readers,

Stress is the force with which we pronounce a syllable in a word . A syllable may consist of a single vowel or a combination of two vowels called diphthongs or it may consist of a vowel or diphthong in combination with one or more consonants .

An English word may be divided into a number of syllables .All syllables do not get the same degree of stress . One syllable gets the maximum degree of stress called the primary stress .and the remaining syllables get varying degrees of stress This is the phonic identity of that word . Thus the word examination has five syllables and the primary stress is on the syllable - na -

What happens to a syllable when it is stressed?

1 It has greater duration

2 it has greater resonance /

3It has greater loudness or volume

What happens to unstressed syllables?

The vowel or diphthong in unstressed syllables becomes the central vowel sound such as you can hear as the first syllable in words like a-bout or a-round.

This phenomenon is called vowel reduction

However, when words are put together in sentences they may lose their phonic identity . English does not like two stressed syllables coming close together. In such situations a word may lose its stress distribution pattern Which syllable will lose its stress depends on the speaker's meaning .

The word English normally has stress on the first syllable . But in the phrase English Channel it may lose its stress.because Channel has stress on the first syllable . Adjectives normally are stressed words, but in the phrase Old English it loses its stress because English has stress on the first syllable .

Please remember that Stress-Time Rhythm is a fundamental feature of English speech and word stress must make way for it !

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