English Word Stress Or Accent Affected English Language Essay

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The segments of spoken language are the vowels and consonants. The speech segments are called segmental phonemes or primary phonemes. They combine to produce syllables, words, phrases and sentences. As we utter them, we make use of wide range of tones of voice. This speech features, which are higher than sound segments are called suprasegmentals. The speech features that are higher than the sound segments are length, stress, pitch, intonation, rhythm and juncture. Here I am describing about stress.

Stress is a suprasegmantal feature. Stress refers to the prominence given to a syllable. In English all the syllable in a word are not uttered with equal force. One or more than one syllable is articulated with greater force than the rest. The degree of force with which a syllable is uttered is known as stress. A syllable gains prominence as a result of the stress it receives. However, factors such as the lengthening of the vowel in the syllable and change in pitch also work in conjunction with the breath force (stress) to make a syllable prominent. The syllable uttered with the greatest degree of force is called stressed or accented syllable. In the word table, /'teibl/ the first syllable /tei/ is more prominently articulated than the second syllable /-bl/. In the word committee/ / the second syllable is more prominently uttered the others. In the word recommend / / the accent or stress is on the third syllable. The stressed syllable in the word is said to carry primary (tonic) stress. The syllable next to that in degree of force of articulation in the word is said to carry secondary stress. The primary stress is usually marked with a vertical stroke high up just before the particular syllable. The secondary stress is marked with a vertical stroke below just before the particular syllable. e.g. emigration / /.

If prominence is given to syllables in isolated words it is called word stress. In English, the stress is both free and fixed.it is free in the sense the main stress can full on any syllable in a word and fixed in the sense that each word has its own fixed stress patterns. For example while the disyllabic teacher / / has stress on the first syllable, the disyllabic word canteen / / has stress on the second syllable.

The stress patterns of a word is an important feature of the word's spoken identity. Thus we find nation / /, and not nation / /, nationality / / and not nationality / /. Any change in the stress patterns nay deform the phonetic shape of the word beyond recognition. Stress is relevant to grammar as well as to phonetics. Thus it contributes much to the form and function of the word. The stress patterns in some words may be affected by their grammatical word class. For example, some disyllabic verbs are distinguished from corresponding nouns or adjectives on the basis of the stress they receive, the verbs take primary stress on the second syllable whereas the nouns and adjectives take it on the first syllable.

E.g. Digest / / (noun); digest / / (verb).

Frequent / / (adjective); frequent/ / (verb).

STRESS IN SIMPLE WORDS.

Stress appears in all polysyllabic words. It is rather difficult to predict where the is to be placed. if we examine the stress patterns in simple words, the following general tendencies may be observed.

1. Words with the suffix -ee, -eer, -aire take the stress on the syllable containing the suffix.

e.g. trust / / trustee / /.

auction / / auctioneer / /.

2. Words with the suffix -ion, -ity, -ic, -ial, -ially, -ian take stress on the syllable preceding the suffix.

e.g. regulate / / regulation / /.

economy / / economic / /.

3. The suffixes -ness, -less, -ly, -al, -full, -hood do not change stress.

e.g. supple / / suppleness / /.

critic / / critical / /.

4. The inflectional suffixes -ed, -es and -ing do not cause any stress change.

e.g. relate / / related / /.

mango / / mangoes / /.

progress / / progressing / / .

ACCENT IN COMPOUND WORDS

By compound words we mean a word composed of two separate words. If we examine the stress patterns in compound words, the following general tendencies may be observed.

1. In most compound words in English, the primary accent falls usually on the first element.

e.g. pen-friend, hand-bag.

2. When a compound noun denotes a single idea rather than a combination of two ideas suggested by the original words, the first element is stressed.

e.g. honey-moon, goldsmith.

3. When the meaning of a compound noun is the meaning of the second element stress is on the first element.

e.g. dinner-table, sheep-dog.

4. Words compounded of a verb and an adverb are generally pronounced with stress on the first element.

e.g. make-up, set-back.

5. In compound words that end in -ever or -self the primary stress falls on the second element.

e.g. himself, whenever.

6. Double stress is used in compound adjectives of which the first element is an adjective.

e.g. red-hot, good-looking.

It may be seen that the stress of words normally pronounced with double stress is often modified in sentences. The first of the stressed syllables is likely to loss its stress, when closely preceded by another stressed syllable. Similarly, the second of the stressed syllable is likely to lose its stress, when closely followed by another stressed syllable. For example, fourteen / / is normally double stressed. When it is preceded by words like just / / , The first stress is lost, / /.

FEATURES OF CONNECTED SPEECH.

Sentence stress.

An utterance consisting of more than one word is called connected speech. When words are used in connected speech, some words are uttered more prominently than others are. prominence given to syllables in sentences is called sentence stress. As a general rule, the words, which carry the main information, stand out from the rest. generally the content words are while the function class words are unstressed. For example, in the sentence 'the tall boy is a brilliant student', the words tall, boy, brilliant and student are stressed and the rest, unstressed. The stress falls on the same syllable irrespective of whether it forms part of a polysyllabic word uttered in isolation, or of connected speech. If there are several prominent syllables in connected speech only one will receive the primary accent. this is usually the last prominent syllable. But the choice of the syllable carrying the primary accent depends on the meaning the speaker wants to convey. The tonic is marked with ['].

For example, he must write, may be spoken in the following three ways to effect changes in meaning, by changing stress positions.

He 'must write.

He must 'write.

'He must write.

One prominent feature of English is that stress occur at regular intervals of time. Accent at the level of sentence is much freer than that in the word.

WEAK FORMS AND STRONG FORMS.

One of the striking features of English connected speech is the occurrence of strong and weak forms nearly fifty words in English which, perform a grammatical function appearing these two forms. The can be pronounced in two or more distinct ways.

1. The weak forms are unstressed.

2. They exhibit a reduction in the length of sounds.

3. The weak forms of certain words are distinguished from their strong forms by the omission of vowels and consonants.

Only strong forms are acceptable in the following situations.

1. When weak form words occur finally in a sentence, e.g. Who are you waiting for?

2. When a weak form word is accented for the purpose of emphasis, e.g. The journey to Kochi and not from Kochi.

1.What is the relevance of the points you have submitted?

2.Convert the topic into a teaching unit.

3.Critically evaluate the points you have submitted?

ANSWERS

Learning word stress is very important in linguistics studies. A language learner needs to engage with a word many times, preferably in different ways , in order to really learn it. Mistakes in word stress sometimes create misunderstandings in English. There are some words which have same spelling , different pronunciation and different meaning.(homography) .In such cases if we make mistakes in pronunciation then it will change the meaning.

For example:

'Lead' in "I lead the group" and

"The plate is made of lead"

Even if the speaker can be understood, mistakes with word stress can make the listener feel irritated or perhaps even amused and could prevent good communication from taking place. Stressing the wrong syllable in a word can make the word very difficult to understand. For example:

"I carried a basket to the market".

If a person stress the first syllable rather than second syllable, then it will become difficult to the listener to understand.

2.

Each word is formed by one or more than one syllable.

In English all the syllables in a word are not uttered with equal force.

The syllable uttered with the greatest degree of force is called stressed or accented syllable.

For example: In the word 'table' the first syllable is more prominently articulated than the second syllable.

The most stressed words are called as primary stress and the secondly stressed syllable is known as secondary syllable.

The primary stress is usually marked with a vertical stroke high up just before the particular syllable.

The secondary stress is marked with a vertical stroke below just before the particular syllable.

For example:

,emi`gration

The stress patterns in some words may be affected by their grammatical word class.

Words with the suffix -eer, -ee, -aire, take the stress on the syllable containing the suffix.

In most compound words in English, the primary accent falls usually on the first element.

Generally the content words are stressed while the function class words are unstressed.

For example, in the sentence, the tall boy is a brilliant student, the words tall, boy, brilliant and student are stressed and the rest, unstressed.

The weak forms are unstressed.

3. The information given in this assignment is very relevant and acceptable. It helps the people who are learning linguistics to acquire basic information about word stress. This is an attempt to study word stress in general and the English language in particular. It describes stress as a suprasegmental feature. It also speaks about primary stress, secondary stress, accent in simple words, accent in compound words, sentence stress and the rules in using stress. This assignment also gives lots of examples regarding the topic. In short it is a sincere effort on the topic word stress.

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