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Word Stress (Theory Sheet)

Word Stress is the major prominence given to a syllable.

It can be defined as singling out of one or more syllables in a word, which is accompanied by the change of the force of utterance, pitch of the voice, qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the sound, which is usually a vowel.

Most words of more than four syllables have two stresses (primary, secondary).

Secondary stress is manifested in polysyllabic words with the primary stress on the 3rd or 4th syllable from the beginning (popularity, responsibility).

Words with two primary stresses

1. Polysyllables with separable prefixes having a distinct meaning of their own (unknown, nonsmoker, misprint). In everyday usage common words lose their stress (unusual, impossible, mistake). Some of them are not used without these prefixes (discourage).

2. Numerals 13-19.

3. Compound numerals (twenty-three).

4. Compound adjectives (well-known, kind-hearted). But when one component is not really important we have only one stress (spring-like, oval-shaped).

5. Compound verbs (get up, give up).

fifty fifteen ['fIftI 'fIf'tJn]



Compounds are composed of more than one root morpheme but function grammatically and/or semantically as a single word. Compounds may be written as one word, e.g. dishwasher, or with a hyphen, e.g. user-friendly, or with a space between the two elements, e.g. season ticket. When an adjective modifies the following noun, they make a phrase, and typically, they have a late stress, i.e. the second word has more stress than the first, e.g. polished 'wood, interesting 'book, running 'water, hard 'work, difficult 'course.

There are some guidelines for defining stress placement in compounds and phrases:

1) Compounds typically have early stress, the first element is more stressed than the second: ''firewood, 'library book, 'running shoes, 'homework, corres'pondence course.

EARLY STRESS is usual in compounds in which:

the two elements are written as one word: 'headline, 'screwdriver; 'laptop, 'lifestyle;

a) expressions consisting of ′NOUN+NOUN: 'picture frame, 'child abuse, 'theme park, 'tape measure, shopping centre, stock exchange ( ), phonecard, theme park ( ). Included here are examples involving nouns in final position formed from V(erb) + er: ′bodyscanner, bricklayer, screwdriver.

Some general categories of exception to the accentual pattern of N+′N are:

- man-made items, e.g.: apple pie, rice pudding.

- Where N1 is a name: Christmas ′pudding (but cf. ′Christmas cake),

- where both N1 and N2 are equally referential : acid rain, aroma therapy, banner headline.

- where N1 is a value . e.g. 100 per cent effort, dollar bill, fifty p. charge, pound note, tenpence piece.

b) expressions consisting of A(djective)+NOUN, N's+N, N+V, N+Ving: 'batting average, 'landfill, 'ear-splitting, 'job-sharing,bulls eye windsurfing.

LATE STRESS is usual in the following compounds as if they were phrases:

when the first element is the material or ingredient out of which the thing is made: cherry 'pie, pork 'chop, rice 'pudding, banana 'split, except for CAKE, JUICE and WATER: these have normal early stress: 'carrot cake, 'orange juice, 'mineral water.

Compound adjectives These are much more limited in number than noun compounds. They divide fairly evenly between those with initial stress and those with final stress. Adjectives

- with initial stress: ′ladylike, 'moth-eaten, seasick, sell-by (date), use-by (date), trustworthy, waterproof.

- with two primary stresses: ′deep-seated, rent-free, sky-blue, stone-dead, tax-free, tight-'knit.

Compound Verbs: The number of compounds functioning as verbs (if we exclude phrasal and prepositional verbs) is very small. They usually involve initial stress, e.g. ′babysit. The sequence ADV or PREP + V generally takes final stress, e.g. outnumber, out′wit, over′sleep, under′go.


Sometimes the same sequence of words can make a phrase or a compound. Here the late or early stress distinguishes them:

Compounds = EARLY STRESS Phrases = LATE STRESS
a 'darkroom = a room for developing photographs a 'moving van - to carry furniture when one moves house a' blackbird = a kind of bird: Turdus merula an 'English o teacher = a teacher of English a dark 'room = a room which is dark because there is little light in it a moving' van - a van that is in motion a black 'bird - any bird that is black an English 'teacher = a teacher who is English


There are some complex words (often of Greek origin) made up of two bound forms which individually are like prefixes and suffixes, and it is thus difficult to analyse such words as prefix + root or root + suffix, e.g. homophobic, microwave, telegram, thermostat. The accentual patterns of pseudo-compounds are affected by suffixes as if they were simple roots, thus ′telephone, tele'phonic, te′lephonist; photograph, pho′tographer, photo′graphic; a′nalogy, ana′logical, a′nalogize.


1. Transcribe the words and put down stress marks in these words, translate them.

abstract (a) abstract (v), conduct (n) conduct (v), contract (n) contract (v), contrast (n) contrast (v), desert (n) desert (v), escort (n) escort (v), export (n) export (v), import (n) import (v), insult (n) insult (v), object (n) object (v), perfect (a) perfect (v), permit (n) permit (v), present (n, a) present (v), produce (n) produce (v), protest (n) protest (v), rebel (n) rebel (v), record (n) record (v), subject (n) subject (v), digest (n) digest (v), torment (n) torment (v), transfer (n), - transfer (v), accent (n) accent (v), transport (n) transport (v), combine (n) combine (v), compress (n) compress (v), progress (n) progress (v), graduate (n) graduate (v), attribute (n) attribute (v), envelope (n) envelop (v), reprimand (n) reprimand (v), compliment (n) compliment (v), estimate (n) estimate (v), prophecy (n) prophesy (v), frequent (a) frequent (v), separate (a) separate (v).

2. Mark the secondary and primary stress.

1. anniversary 2. definition 3. epicurean 4. mediocrity 5. metaphysical

6. mortification 7. proclamation 8. regeneration 9. valediction 10. sacramental

11. sacrificial 12 . Sagittarius 13. Salamanca 14. salmonella

3. Mark the stress in the words given in bold type.

1. Taxes are not expected to increase. 2. The average increase in earnings last year was 6%. 3. Have you got a permit for that gun? 4. I cannot permit such behaviour. 5. The President had an armed escort. 6. The receptionist will escort the visitors to the meeting room. 7. His business interests conflict with his public duty. 8. The border dispute may lead to armed conflict between the two countries. 9. There has been a decrease in the birth rate. 10. The number of the members is expected to decrease. 11. There will be a storm of protest. 12. I'm going to protest. 13. Every child rebels against authority at some age. 14. The rebels in the hills will never surrender. 15. Contrast Tom with his sister. 16. The rebels in the hill will never surrender. 17. Contrast makes it look better.

4. Mark the stressed syllable.

1a. There has been a decrease in the birth rate.

1b. The number of members is expected to decrease.

2a. His business interests conflict with his public duty.

2b. The border dispute may lead to armed conflict between the two countries.

3a. The President had an armed escort.

3b. The receptionist will escort visitors to the meeting room.

4a. Taxes are not expected to increase.

4b. The average increase in earnings last year was 6%.

5a. I cannot permit such behaviour.

5b. Have you got a permit for that gun?

6a. I'm going to protest.

6b. There will be a storm of protest.

7a. The rebels in the hills will never surrender.

7b. Every child rebels against authority at some stage.

Module 2

Syllable Division (Theory Sheet)

Syllable is the smallest language unit consisting of a sound sequence produced with one push of breath. It may include one vowel or a combination of vowels and one or more consonants.

Syllable can be open (ending with a vowel) and closed (ending with a consonant).

Peculiarities of syllable division in English Language.

A syllable may consist of a sonorant (l, m, n). [kItn], [mInt];

If two consonants appear together the boundary between the syllables is between them [sis/tem];

Syllables with short stressed vowel are closed as a rule. [sIt/I], [pIt/I].


Tick the answers you consider correct.

1) These sounds can form the syllable:

a) vowels;

b) noise consonants;

c) sonorants.

2) Consonants can become the centre of the syllable in the following instances:

a) between two vowels;

b) between two consonants;

c) in the initial position;

d) in the final position after a noise consonant;

e) in the final position after a sonorant.

Transcribe these words and mark the syllable boundary.

Narrate, Germany, parcel, kitchen, twenty, blossom, bluish, diamond, city, react, butter, goggles.


Module 3

Rhythm (Theory Sheet)

Rhythm is a regular alteration/ change of stressed and unstressed syllables at definite intervals.

One, two, three, four.

One and two and three and four.

RULES: 1. the unstressed syllables occupy approximately the same time between the stresses.

2. the greater number of unstressed syllables the more quickly and weakly they are pronounced.

The students are interested in improving their speech rhythm.

Rhythmic group is a unit which has 1 accented word and unstressed elements (enclitics and proclitics).

Rhythmic Group is formed by: -one stressed syllable (Read. Write.)

- one stressed syllable and preceding unstressed = proclitics (Ive read it.)

- one stressed syllable and following unstressed = enclitics (Thank you.)

RULES: 1. link every word beginning with a vowel to the preceding word;

2. weaken unstressed words;

3. make the stressed syllables occur regularly within an intonation group.

The influence of rhythm:

1. Compounds have double stress:

- preceded by unstressed syllables (the end of the sentence): It was second-class.

- between unstressed syllables: There were fifteen of them.

2. preceded by a stressed syllable stressed on the 2 element: They are all second-class.

3. following by a stressed syllable stressed on the 1 element: Shes a well-bred girl.

4. words in the sentence may lose their stress under the influence of rhythm: He ,didnt say so. Why didnt you find out yourself?



1. This exercise is based on common patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables. Read the sets of phrases keeping in mind that within each rhythmic group the stressed syllables come in regular intervals of time. The unstressed syllables between stresses have to be fitted in without delaying the regular beat of the pulses. The more unstressed syllables there are in the rhythmic group, the quicker they must be said in order to catch the next beat.

′Come ′here, ′go ′back, ′sit ′down, ′stand ′up, ′not ′now, ′whats it ′for? ′hurry ′up, ′wheres your ′book?

She ′ought to, I ′wanted it, they ′want us to, a ′little one, a ′lot of it, ′Ive ′finished it, be ′good to him, ′get rid of it.

I ′want to ′read, she ′wants to ′know, she ′does it ′well, its ′quite all ′right, a′nother ′book, a ′piece of ′bread, a ′slice of ′cheese.

Ill ′finish it ′soon, she ′told him to ′go, I ′think they have ′gone, a ′walk in the ′street, the ′best in the ′group, it ′used to be ′mine.

′Put it on the ′table, ′making it ′alone, ′tell him all you ′know, ′mind how you ′behave, ′half of them are ′left, ′waiting for the ′bus.

She ′wanted me to ′speak about it. This ′isnt quite the ′moment for it.

2. Transcribe the sentences and divide them into rhythmic groups:

1. I dont think he can manage it._________________________________________

2. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.___________________________________

3. I can give you the answer in a minute. _____________________________________

4. Ill repeat the suggestion as I heard it.________________________________________

3. Listen to the dialogue, mark stresses and tunes. Mark the boundaries of the rhythmic groups. Act out the dialogue

An Interview

Robin Night, the television reporter, is interviewing the Duchess of Wessex for the programme The English At Home.

Robin: Now, Duchess tell us about an ordinary day in your life.

Duchess: Well, I wake up at seven oclock

Robin: Really? Do you get up then?

Duchess: No, of coarse I dont get up at that time. I have breakfast in bed and read The Times.

Robin: What time do you get up?

Duchess: I get up at ten.

Robin: What do you do then?

Duchess: I read my letters and dictate the replies to my secretary.

Robin: and then?

Duchess: At eleven I walk in the garden with Philip.

Robin: Oh? Whos Philip?

Duchess: Philips my dog.

Robin: What time do you have lunch?

Duchess: I have lunch at twelve thirty.

Robin: And after lunch?

Duchess: Oh, I rest until six oclock.

Robin: and at six? What do you do at six?

Duchess: I dress for dinner. We have dinner at eight oclock.

Robin: What time do you go to bed?

Duchess: Well, I have a bath at nine thirty, and I go to bed at ten.

Robin: Thank you, Duchess you certainly have a busy and interesting life!

4. Read the sentences. The number of stresses in each sentence is the same. But the number of unstressed syllables is different. Pronounce each series of sentences making a stressed syllable on each beat and the unstressed syllables between beats. The time given to each rhythmic group does not change though the number of unstressed syllables is different.

I didnt believe it was true.

I didnt think it was true.

I dont think it was true.

Im perfectly certain youre right.

Im almost certain youre right.

Im quite certain youre right.

5. In each series of sentences, with sentence stresses marked, the number of stresses is the same. But the number of unstressed syllables is different. Tap on the table with your pencil, regularly. Pronounce each series of sentences making a stressed syllable fall on each beat and all unstressed syllables between beats. The time given to each rhythmic group does not change through the number of unstressed syllables is different.

′Children have ′toys.

The ′children will have ′toys.

The ′children will have some ′toys.

The ′children will be having some ′toys.

The ′children will be having some new ′toys.

Exercise 6.

The verses that are given below are traditional children rhymes. They have well-defined patterns of rhythm and a useful for practicing speech rhythm. While reading dont forget that the stressed syllables must follow one another strict, regular rhythm. Learn the rhymes by heart.

Twinkle, twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky


INTONATION (Theory Sheet)

INTONATION is a complex unity of speech melody, sentence stress (accent), timbre, tempo, rhythm.

Intonation group = syntagm is a unit which has at least 1 accented word caring a change in pitch (Rise or Fall) and is generally complete from the point of view of meaning.

Functions of Intonation:

1. the constitutive = forms sentences with intonation groups (Hes nearly sixty. As a matter of fact, I hes nearly sixty.);

2. the distinctive = distinguishes the communicative types of sentences (Dont you know it? // Dont you know it!);

3. the attitudinal = expresses the attitude of the speaker to the utterance (He is ill. expressing the fact // He is ill! emotionally).


The pre-head = the unstressed and half-stressed syllables preceding the head.

The head = the first stressed syllable up to the last stressed syllable.

The nucleus = the last stressed syllable.

The tail = the unstressed and half-stressed syllables following the nucleus.

the nucleus + the tail = the terminal tone

Sentence Stress is a special prominence given to one or more words according to their relative importance in a sentence. Types:

1. normal (conveys the meaning)

2. logical (special prominence to a new element)

Pass me that red pencil.

Pass me that red pencil.

Pass me that red pencil.

Pass me that red pencil.

Pass me that red pencil.

3. emphatic (emotional)



Meaning: final, categorical, weighty, reserved, calm, serious.

Low Fall is used in: __________________________________________

1. statements (The dean is busy.)_____________________________________________

2. special questions (What can I do for you?)___________________________________

3. reserved exclamations (What a tree!)________________________________________

4. imperatives: order (Shut the door.)__________________________________________

5. disjunctive questions before comma + after comma if the speaker is certain

(Its hot, isnt it?) ____________________________________________


['bIg \men || ]


'kItI Iz \bIzI ||


Meaning: non-final, non-categorical, encouraging further conversation, polite, wondering, questioning, expressing interest, skeptical.

Low Rise is used in: ___________________________________

1. general questions (Is that a bag?)___________________________________

2. polite requests (Will you help me, please?)___________________________

3. alternative questions before or (Is it a pen or a pencil?)________________

4. statements reassuring, disbelieving (Its all right.)_____________________

5. polite direct addresses at the beginning of the sentence __________________

(Tommy, Im waiting for you.) _____________________

1.[ "Iz It ||]


Meaning: final, categorical, weighty, insistent, personally concerned, emotional.

High Fall is used in: ______________________________________________

1. statements (Its very far.)______________________________________________

2. special questions (Whats the matter?)___________________________________

3. emotional exclamations (What a nice day!)_________________________________

.1. [ 'wot 3 'faIn `deI ||]


Meaning: non-final, questioning, expressing interest, surprise, asking for repetition.

High Rise is used in: ________________________

1. to show surprise (Shes in love with Tom. Tom!)_____________________________

2. to ask to repeat (Her name is Mary. Mary?)________________________________

Affirmative and negative sentences pronounced with High Rise become elliptical questions:

Go home now. Go home? _____________________________

1. [It 'Iznt \bed || 'not 'bed ||]


Meaning: strong feelings like contradiction, uncertainty, warning, excuse, surprise, correction, reproach.

It can occur: ___________________________________________________

1. within one syllable: No. ___________________________________________________

2. within two syllables: Thats right. ___________________________________________

3. within two syllables separated with 1 or more unstressed syllables:_________________

Certainly. ________________________________________________________________

4. Complex tone Fall+Rise: Peter is ready to manage it.____________________________

1. [Its 'blxk || ˇwaIt ||]

4. [`s3:tn"lI ||]



Meaning: what the speaker admits or denies is in conflict with his own or his listeners opinion: strong confidence, importance, surprise, bewilderment or shock.

Its terrible, isnt it. ___________________________________

Go there now. Its too early.__________________________

1. Its ^terIbl | ^Iznt It ||



Level Tone in the end of the utterance means that the idea is not finished: the speaker hesitates, doesnt know what to say, formulates the idea in his mind, expresses expectancy.

As far as I can see, its impossible.______________________________________

As a friend / what do you advise me to do?____________________________________

1. As 'far as I can "see | its im`possible.

High Pre-Head

Meaning: intensified: encouraging, appreciative, protesting.

1. Good morning!_______________________________________________________

2. Hes always late.

Yes, whats the time, please?______________________________________________

3. Hes failed again.

Oh, poor old Peter.____________________________________________________

Intonation of Direct Address

1. The beginning of a sentence: - formal Low Fall: John, open the book, please.

- polite Low Rise: John, will you open the book, please.

- friendly Fall-Rise: Johnny, give me a book, please.

2. The end of a sentence: secondary stress or unstressed: You are late, John.

3. The middle of a sentence: half-stressed or unstressed: As you know, John, Im busy.

Prepositions before Pronouns in the End of Intonation Group

Pronouns are not stressed in the end of intonation group. Prepositions receive secondary stress:

Wait for me.__________________________________

Look at me.___________________________________

Put it in front of her.____________________________

Intonation of Parentheses

1. The beginning of a sentence: Low Rise: As for me, /Actually, /In fact, Im busy.

Fall-Rise: As a matter of fact, Im busy.

- Level Tone: To tell the truth, Im busy.

2. The end of a sentence: secondary stress or unstressed: Im busy in fact.

3. The middle of a sentence: half-stressed or unstressed: To be exact, you know, he cant help us.

Practical Tasks

1. Read the following utterances with the Low Rise. Use them in conversational situations:

1. As a rule he comes home late. 2. First of all, see the house. 3. Still, there are five more days. 4. Of course, their furniture is modern and new. 5. Perhaps, she will come to us. 6. As a matter of fact, I like the idea. 7. As you know, she finished school in 1997.

2. Read the following utterances with the Fall-Rise. Use them in conversational situations:

1. Besides, Im afraid he wont do it. 2. Generally, I drink coffee in the morning. 3. Normally, we go for a walk in the evening. 4. Personally, Im not very keen on it. 5. Anyhow, who says Im not serious? 6. However, he is always late.

3. Read the following utterances. Use them in conversational situations:

1. A walking holiday depends on the weather, of course. 2. You were badly ill, as far as I remember. 3. Tastes differ, you know. 4. So I didnt have any rest, in fact. 5. Our time is up, Im afraid. 6. Jane doesnt make up, Im sure. 7. I feel bad, indeed. 8. They are students, as you know.


Module Test 1-2

1. Supply the words with the stress(es).

Good-looking, breakfast, determination, to give up, to object.

2. Look at the following sentences. Underline the syllable that takes the main stress in the words or phrases printed in italic. Check with the recording.

Examples: The performance was really first-rate. She runs a first-rate business.

1. I always like working outdoors. Im really lucky to have found an outdoor job.

2. Put the TV on. Well be just in time for the ten oclock news.

3. As a novelist Id say he is first-rate. But hes really a second-rate poet.

4. My friends Chinese she plays in the Chinese orchestra.

5. I really hate over-cooked vegetables.

6. They always wear really up-to-date clothes.

7. Havent you heard of her? Shes a really well-known writer.

- She cant be that well-known if I havent heard of her.

8. Hes a good-looking guy, but not as good-looking as he thinks he is.

9. Really low-paid workers find it difficult to buy new clothes.

10. Ill only ever eat farm-fresh eggs but I must admit that I often buy oven-ready chips.

Transcribe the words, divide them into syllables.

Argument, outside, pity, pupil, morning, tomorrow, woman, garden.


Module Test 3-4

Date: 2015-04-20; view: 7018

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