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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21
votes
4answers
814 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
589 views

How did “defect” and “defect” come to have different pronunciations?

There are many interesting events in the history of the English language. Which one of them gave us “defect” (noun, /diːˈfɛkt/, imperfection) and “defect” (verb, /dɪˈfɛkt/ , change allegiances)?
10
votes
3answers
261 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Prosodic stress

What difference do different stress positions make to the meaning of the following sentence: What would you like? What would you like? What would you like? What would you like?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is the verb form of “record” pronounced [ri-kawrd] but the noun form is pronounced [rek-erd]?

Is there a different origin of pronunciation style for record as a verb and as a noun? Fun fact: in OS X, if you type say "this record" and say "record this" — the text to speech system picks up the ...
4
votes
1answer
318 views

What is the proper emphasis for the word “indent”?

Does indent carry an accent on the first or the second vowel? I've seen both in IPA. My non-native ear would tend to favor the first.
2
votes
1answer
803 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", ...
27
votes
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
319 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
263 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
60 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 second-...
1
vote
2answers
492 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" http:/...
1
vote
1answer
233 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 ...