Stress refers to which syllable or syllables in a word or phrase are "accented" or receive the most emphasis in their pronunciation.

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90 views

Can sentence vary non-primary stress?

Can the number and position of non-primary stresses vary depending on the sentence it appears in? E.g. assuming the word catastrophe, in RP, has a stress on the second syllable /kəˈtastrəfi/ Can we ...
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1answer
51 views

How to decide if the syllable of a word can never be stressed in any sentence

Is there a way of deciding whether the syllable of a word, in RP, can never be stressed in any sentence? E.g. congenital /kənˈdʒɛnɪt(ə)l/ I would assume that '(ə)l' can never be stressed, whatever ...
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74 views

Why do nouns and verbs which are stressed differently all exhibit the same variation?

I recently stumbled upon an interesting quirk regarding words that are both nouns and verbs. They seem to all follow the same stress pattern. Here are a few examples: NOUNS I have a really long ...
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1answer
116 views

Is lexical stress mostly consistent across accents of Standard English?

According to Wikipedia, lexical stress in Standard English* is "phonemic" (whatever they think they mean by that), using the minimal pair insight/incite as an example. My hypothesis is that, across ...
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1answer
46 views

Stress placement in compounds such as “elsewhere” and “inland”

In watching nature documentaries narrated by David Attenborough, I've noticed that in various compounds where Americans use first-syllable stress (elsewhere, inland, life-forms), he uses ...
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1answer
151 views

Words pronounced with stress patterns like in “politics”, “lunatics”, etc.?

Could anyone please give a list of words pronounced with no primary stress immediately preceding the suffix -ic, such as in "politics", "lunatic", "arithmetic"? Also, is there an absolute stress ...
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1answer
86 views

How do I know where to place the stress?

In questions that start with interrogative pronouns such as: what, when, and why, should they be stressed? For example, is the word "time" stressed in the sentence? Is "What" stressed, too? What ...
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37 views

How to study for a dlab exam?

My question is about the Dlab exam I will provide a bit of background first, my own research and then ask my question at the end. Background I am aiming to enlist in the US Navy and my college ...
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1answer
227 views

A rule for identifying the stressed syllable in abstract nouns ending in -ity. Is it foolproof?

When I was a student I was taught that the stressed syllable in an abstract noun ending in -ity is always the antepenultimate. e.g. reliability spontaneity ability felicity eternity rarity ...
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239 views

Why does “stigmata” [often] have penult stress?

I enjoy studying the pronunciation of Greek-derived words in English, and I've found an odd anomaly. There are (at least) two possible pronunciation patterns for words ending in the plural suffix -ata ...
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115 views

Can the stress pattern of “uroboros/ouroboros” be explained by any principle, or is it random? [duplicate]

The word "uroboros," coming ultimately from Greek, has a couple of spellings and also pronunciations (see How to do you pronounce Ouroboros?). As explained by Nohat in the linked page, the two ...
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2answers
136 views

In what mode does Tom Bombadil sing?

In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (book 1 of "The Fellowship of the Ring", chapter 7, "In the House of Tom Bombadil", specifically) the character Tom Bombadil sings many of his lines (much of ...
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2answers
70 views

How to mark a stressed vowel in a text?

I write an article containing many Russian names and surnames, and sometimes it is important to specify which vowel is stressed (e.g. to distinguish Baskov from Baskov). In Russian we put an accent ...
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1answer
191 views

“Accessory” pronounced with a stress on the first syllable

I'm a first language English speaker, but grew up Bilingual in Spanish in a Spanish speaking country. Today I was speaking to another first language English speaker (Canadian) and used the word ...
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2answers
1k views

Why do American English speakers pronounce both syllables in “challah” equally?

I live in the US, and I've noticed that "challah" seems to be generally pronounced by Americans as something like /hala:/ (or possibly /ha:lə/), with either equal stress on both syllables or a slight ...
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3answers
149 views

Stress on “can” and “could”

I can go there. I could go there. In these sentences, when spoken, how is the meaning altered by putting stress/emphasis on the words can and could?
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4answers
309 views

Why is “omnipotent” stressed iambically?

"Omnipotent" is stressed like omˈnipotent, with a stress on second syllable. But both components are stressed on the first syllable ('omni and 'potent). And a comparable word, "omnipresent", has the ...
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3answers
534 views

Why are “suffice” and “sufficient” pronounced so differently?

Today I heard somebody use a form of the verb "suffice" (which means "to be sufficient") pronouncing it like the verb "surface" without an r (and where that "a" makes more of an "i" sound). This ...
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2answers
95 views

Does the word “buttress,” which is both a noun & verb, follow the rules about where to put emphasis based on its part of speech? [closed]

buttress (n.) any prop or support buttress (v.) to support by a buttress; prop up Words like combat, abstract, project, and convict change the syllable that's stressed based on whether ...
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1answer
174 views

TR sound and Word Stress

I read in American accent book that when a "t" is followed by an "r" sound, the "t" changes and becomes an almost "ch" sound. "To create this sound correctly, say "ch" as in chain, but just make the ...
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1answer
265 views

Word Stress in “I have a + noun”

I know that any word can be stressed in a sentence to give it emphasis, but in the following sentences I'm interested in a default unemphatic accent. When I pronounce these phrases: A: I have a ...
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2answers
411 views

Word Stress Within a Sentence: Adjectives

I read this in American accent book: "Place full stress on an adjective if it's not followed by a noun. If it is followed by a noun, stress the noun more." For example I have this phrase: Have a ...
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1answer
373 views

Do words with primary and secondary stress lose the secondary stress in a sentence?

I read in a textbook that certain words in English lose the secondary stress when they appear in a sentence. For example, this female name has both primary and secondary stress according to the ...
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3answers
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Word Stress in the sentence “I put it on the table”

the sentence: "I put it on the table" phonetically looks like: [ aɪ pʊ_dɪ_dɑn ðə 'teɪ bəl ] and "I put it on the chair" phonetically looks like: [ aɪ pʊ_dɪ_dɑn ðə 'tʃɛər ] I think the strongest ...
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1answer
3k views

Compounds and Phrases - differences

What are differences of compounds and phrases and what do they have in common? I know there is the "nuclear stress rule" (phrasal stress on the last word of phrase) and the "compound stress rule" ...
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2answers
132 views

Idiom: Get off your high horse (American English Stress) [closed]

Get off your high horse [gɛt̬ _ɔf jər ˌhɑɪ 'hoərs] We have a flap T linked with the word OFF. I'm not sure which words I should stress in the idiom above, apart from the noun "horse" which is the ...
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238 views

Sentence stress and word linking with the problematic Y?

the question: Can I use your bathroom? phonetically looks like: [kə_naɪ ˈyuz yər ˈbæθˌrum] I think the stress should be on the verb USE and the noun BATHROOM. Am I right? Some dictionaries show the ...
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2answers
336 views

How to explain the use of stress to emphasize agreement

In a discussion with someone whose first language is not English, the phrase "that is fun" came up, with the stress applied to emphasize agreement. This was taken as an insult; he thought the stress ...
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429 views

Sentence stress: I'm sort of busy right now

I heard this phrase in a TV show: "I'm sort of busy right now". You can listen it here (I cut out the phrase): https://clyp.it/4khla44l Phonetically it looks like: [ɑɪm soərt əv bɪzi raɪt naʊ]. The ...
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457 views

Is the diphthong [ai] on a non-primary stressed syllable a hypercorrection? [closed]

Is the diphthong [ai] on a non-primary stressed syllable a hypercorrection? Some American people pronounce the prefix "anti" like an-tie. For example, here's a pronunciation of "anti-Christian" ...
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1answer
800 views

Marking stress for a syllable

Word cartoon, sound is /kɑːtuːn/ word has two syllable, kɑː and tuːn and the syllable tuːn is stressed. But the online dictionaries doesnt show the dot (.) between these two syllables. but stress ...
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1answer
201 views

pronunciation of PYRamid vs. pyRAMidal

This recently came up in my geometry class: why is pyramid pronounced PIR-uh-mid, while pyramidal is pronounced pi-RAM-idal? From what I can tell, they both have similar roots and etymologies, so ...
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1answer
609 views

Where in the U.S. do people change the stress of umbrella, adult and TV to the first syllable?

Is it just a small percentage of the population in that region who stress the first syllable, or is it widespread? In other words, if I visit such region will I find almost everyone talking like that ...
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300 views

Stress on noun + noun phrases

When two nouns are combined, the stress is usually on the first noun, as in MILK bottle, DOG house, DOORknob, and POTATO salad. However, if the first noun denotes a place, the stress seems to be on ...
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2answers
419 views

Stress shift amongst speakers from India

I've noticed that speakers from India shift the stress in some words such as 'adjective', 'sentence' or 'tendency'. They normally stress the second syllable and not the first one as most people are ...
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2answers
1k views

Are there any three syllable words which exist as a noun and verb?

There are several word pairs consisting of a noun and a verb that are written and articulated the same; the noun generally has stress placed on the first syllable, and the verb on the second. For ...
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2answers
231 views

Pronunciation of “compact” across English dialects, when used as different parts of speech

Googling suggests that compact has the stress on the last syllable when used as an adjective and on the first syllable when used as a noun. Is this common for all English dialects or are there ...
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1answer
1k views

What syllable is stressed in “complex”?

I've read somewhere that if complex is an adjective, its second syllable is stressed (com-plex), while for noun, the first one (com-plex). But e.g. this link says that adjective can also sound as ...
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2answers
425 views

How to identify the sound of an “A” without altering the spelling of the word?

I have the word "Carr" (short for the name Carrie). Is there a way to write the 'a' so that a person reading the word 'Carr' would pronounce it like care ('kær), opposed to pronouncing it like car ...
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1answer
966 views

Why do English men's names almost always stress the first syllable?

While looking at names of American Presidents I noticed that English men’s names almost always stress the first syllable. Barack Obama is unusual in that he’s only the second President (after ...
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1answer
729 views

Telling the time “3:15” in American English

Which of the followings is the most common way to say 3:15 in American English? A quarter past three A quarter after three Three fifteen Also, in the last example "three fifteen", ...
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1answer
540 views

Stress in “control” word

I heard the "control" word (and other similar words) stress depends on whether it is a noun or a verb. But I can't find any proof to that. Is it really so?
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Why don't “-use” verb-noun pairs obey initial stress derivation?

It's well known (and several past questions on this SE have covered) that to convert a two-syllable Latin-derived English verb into a noun, you shift the stress to the first syllable. This is ...
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3answers
961 views

Four-word phrase stress

I'm interested to learn why the following four-word phrases have stress on different words. "Little Red Riding Hood" (stress is on little and riding) "Infamous National Rifle Association" ...
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3answers
2k views

How to stress any word properly?

Personally I think stress is one of the hardest things. There are thousands of words around, so most likely I cannot remember all stress-marks of every word then pronounce them exactly. Is it so ...
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1answer
298 views

Pronunciations of 'retard' and 'retardation'

Why are the verb form (/rɪtɑːd/, ri-tard) and the offensive noun form (/ˈriːtɑːd/, ree-tard) of the word retard pronounced differently? While I have heard both variants in use as part of the ...
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1answer
553 views

Why is “accidentally” pronounced “accident-ly” instead of “accident-tal-y”?

Why is accidentally pronounced accident-ly and not accident-tal-ly? Incidentally, some other adverbs have this same phenomenon, where some dictionaries show the second-to-last syllable as being ...
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4answers
805 views

Why do photons and protons exhibit such anomalous behavior?

I first noticed in this answer that there is something sneaky going on with the word photon: its ‹t› is the stressed allophone of /t/, a fully aspirated [tʰ]. It does not reduce to [t] or [ɾ] the way ...
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4answers
3k views

Why don’t we write poetry like Beowulf any longer?

Beowulf, the Old English epic poem, uses a characteristically Germanic style of poetry in which the number of strong beats per line is what counts. Instead of counting syllables, strong beats alone ...
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What did we gain in return for the loss of phonemic vowel length from Old English?

In Old English, vowel length was phonemic, but stress and certain kinds of consonant voicing were not. In Modern English, that situation is reversed: vowel length is no longer phonemic, but stress ...