I give some context for my question:

Question: Have you been waiting long?

Answer: I just got here. [aɪ dʒʌst ɡɑt hɪər]

When I pronounce the phrase "I just got here" I hear some stress on the word "got", but I might be wrong. I'm not a native speaker. As a native speaker which words would you stress more when you pronounce "I just got here" in the context above.


Edit: Your updated question has provided context.

As a simple response to the question, "Have you been waiting long?", the subtle stress is placed upon got, just like you have determined.

Word stress can also introduce meaning to the sentence when the emphasis is not so subtle. Any of the words can be emphasized to change the meaning of the sentence.

You: You and your sister just got here.
Me: I just got here.
subtext: My sister did not just get here.

You: Have you spoken with everyone here yet?
Me: I just got here.
subtext: I haven't had time to speak with everyone because I have only just arrived.

You: I need you to go to the store.
Me: I just got here.
subtext: I spent time getting here and would like to not have to leave right away.

You: Most of the competitors have almost finished the race.
Me: I just got here.
subtext: I'm not progressing as quickly as I would like.

Note that the second and third stress usages mean roughly the same thing and are generally interchangeable. Stress on just will be interpreted as a more emphatic complaint than stress on got.

  • Note that there is also "I just got here" exhaled as a sigh, with little emphasis, meaning "I'm too tired to even think, much less respond to your request." – Hot Licks Mar 19 '15 at 19:41
  • @HotLicks, the stress in your context is placed upon got, even if it's subtle. – Ian MacDonald Mar 19 '15 at 19:43
  • 1
    Only if the speaker has the energy to stress anything. – Hot Licks Mar 19 '15 at 19:47
  • @HotLicks, It would take more energy to speak monotonously in order to avoid the subtle stress that is naturally placed upon the word got in that sentence... – Ian MacDonald Mar 19 '15 at 19:48
  • Only to the extent that "got" has a sequence of sounds that tend to be voiced fairly distinctly, especially when interposed between "jez" and "ear". – Hot Licks Mar 19 '15 at 19:54

You're right, "got" has the strongest stress. "Here" is like pronouns in sometimes having less stress than a full phrase would have.

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