Emily's Pronunciation Class

home
vowels
consonants
word stress
sentence rhythm
links
e-mail

  Word Stress

 

characteristics of stressed and 

unstressed syllables

word stress pattern rules

listening exercise (A)

listening exercise (B)

 

  Characteristics of Stressed and Unstressed Syllables

Do you know the differences between stressed syllables and unstressed syllables? 

Look at the following chart first.

 

 
 
Loudness
Vowel Length
Vowel Clarity
Pitch
Stressed 
syllables 
 
loud
long
full
high
Unstressed  
syllables 
 
quiet
short
reduced
low

 

So, when you say a word more than one syllable, remember to make the stressed syllable louder, longer, clearer, and higher pitched.
 

Listening Exercise (A):

Listen to the words in each pair, and then decide whether the two words in each pair have the same stress pattern. Choose " S " for the same or " D " for different.

      e.g.    You hear the words " ro man tic" and " ham bur ger,"

    then you find the stress for "romantic" is on the 2nd syllable, but the stress for "hamburger" is on the 1st syllable, so you choose  " D " - different.


Word Stress Pattern Rules

    1.  Using suffixes to predict stress

        (A)  Stress the suffix itself:
 

 - ee   employee        refugee            trainee          referee
 - eer  engineer          career             volunteer 
 - ese  Chinese          Japanese        Portuguese
 - ique   unique             antique            technique
 
        (B)  Stress the syllable immediately before the suffix:
 
 - ial   memorial        financial             artificial               essential 
 - ual  visual              unusual             intellectual             individual
 - ian  Canadian       vegetarian        pedestrian            politician
 - sion  explosion        occasion          conclusion            permission 
 - tion  definition         production           situation            qualification
 - ient    ancient             sufficient              efficient             deficient           proficient
 - cious  delicious          conscious         suspicious           judicious
 - tious   ambitious         cautious           superstitious        conscientious
 - ic   academic        energetic            fantastic               terrific             realistic
- ible  edible                 flexible              incredible             impossible   
 - ity  ability                 necessity            publicity              possibility       humidity
 - ify  classify              terrify                  humidify              personify         solidify
 - logy   biology             sociology            anthropology       psychology
 - graphy    geography      autobiography     photography        pornography
 - meter  kilometer         parameter          speedometer        thermometer
 
         (C)  Stress the second syllable before the suffix:
 
 - ate   operate           exaggerate           associate          integrate           certificate
 - ize  apologize       criticize                 recognize           computerize
 - ary  secretary         necessary           contemporary     vocabulary 
 - (e, i, u) + ous   courageous     mysterious          impetuous          spontaneous       simultaneous

 
    2.  Using Parts of Speech to predict stress

          (A)  For certain two-syllable words used as both nouns and verbs,
                stress nouns on the first syllable, and verbs on the second syllable.
 

       Noun            Verb                                   Example 
  1.  record         record                  The bank recorded a new record yesterday. 
  2.  present       present                He presented his wife with a beautiful present. 
  3.  conduct      conduct               They're conducting a study into his conduct. 
  4.  suspect      suspect               The suspect was suspected of robbing the bank. 
  5.  desert         desert                  The desert is so dry that it is usually deserted.

 
        (B)  Stress compound nouns on the first part/word:
 

  deadline           classroom             software           typewriter          policeman              airplane 
  bus station       air conditioner       sports car       credit card         stock market         Great wall

 
         (C)  Stress two-word verbs more strongly on the second word,
               but for their noun equivalents, stress them on the first part.
 

 Noun:   Here's the printout. 
               She's a dropout. 
               Where's the checkout counter? 
               There was a holdup at the bank. 
               This clearly is a setup.

  Verb:   He printed it out
               She dropped out
               Can I check it out
               Hold up your hand. 
               I'll set up a meeting for you.

 
home
vowels
consonants
word stress
sentence rhythm
links
e-mail