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IV. FOUR- and more SYLLABLE WORDS

WORD STRESS

English stress placement is a highly complicated matter. There is an opinion that it is best to learn stress placement when the word itself is learned. However, it is also recognized that in most cases when English speakers come across an unfamiliar word, they can pronounce it with the correct stress. Thus in principle, it should be possible to summarize rules of lexical stress placement in English, though practically all the rules will have exceptions.

 

In order to decide on stress placement, it is necessary to keep in mind the following items:

1) whether the word is simple, derivative (prefixes or suffixes) or compound;

2) the grammatical category of the word (noun, verb, adjective, etc.)

3) the number of syllables in a word;

4) the historical origin of a word.

I. MONOSYLLABIC WORDS

Lexical stress of monosyllabic words presents no problem - pronounced in isolation they are said with primary stress. E.g. 'book, 'word, 'pen.

II. TWO-SYLLABLE WORDS

Verbs

1) if the second syllable of the verb contains a long vowel or a diphthong, or if it end­s with more than one consonant, that second syllable is stressed: e.g. com'mand, ar'rive, att'ract.

2) if the final syllable contains a short vowel and one final consonant, the first syllable is stressed: e.g. 'open, 'enter.

3) the first syllable is stressed if a final syllable contains / ow /: e.g. 'follow, 'borrow.

4) any two-syllable verbs with prefixes of Germanic and Latin origin have the root syllable stressed (see a more detailed explanation in “Words with prefixes”).

Adjectives

1) if the second syllable of the adjective contains a long vowel or a diphthong, or if it end­s with more than one consonant, that second syllable is stressed: e.g. su'perb, di'vine, cor'rect.

2) if the final syllable contains a short vowel and one final consonant, the first syllable is stressed: e.g. 'even.

3) the first syllable is stressed if a final syllable contains / /: e.g. 'hollow.

Exceptions: 'honest, 'perfect.

Nouns

1) if the second syllable contains a short vowel, the first syllable is stressed: e.g. 'dinner, 'money, 'colour.

2) if the second syllable contains a long vowel or a diphthong, the stress will be on the second syllable: ba'loon, de'sign.

Adverbs

Adverbs seem to behave like verbs and adjectives. e.g. 'quickly

 

III. THREE-SYLLABLE WORDS

Verbs

If the last syllable of a three­-syllable verb

1) contains a short vowel and ends with not more than one consonant, that syllable will be unstressed, and the stress will be placed on the preceding syllable: e.g. de'termine, en'counter.

2) contains a long vowel or a diphthong, or ends with more than one consonant, that final syllable will be stressed: e.g. enter'tain, under'stand.

Nouns

If the final syllable of a three-syllable simple noun contains



1) a long vowel or a diphthong and/or ends with more than one consonant, the stress will usually be placed on the first syllable: e.g. 'intellect, 'marigold.

2) a short vowel and the middle syllable contains a short vowel and ends with not more than one consonant, the first syllable will be stressed: e.g. 'quantity, 'cinema.

3) contains a short vowel or /ow/ and if the preceding syllable contains a long vowel or a diphthong, or if it ends with more than one syllable, that penultimate syllable will be stressed: e.g. po'tato, di'saster, sy'nopsis.

 

IV. FOUR- and more SYLLABLE WORDS

In words of four and more syllables the stress is placed on the third from the end: e.g. e'mergency, hi'storical, ca'lamity.

 

But most of such words are of complex morphological structure containing affixes (prefixes and/or suffixes) which makes it necessary to regard stress placement rules applied to prefixal and suffixal words separately.


Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1386


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