One stress is on "pen". The other on "tra". This seems very unusual to me since I had the impression that most English words are supposed to be pronounced with one stress only.

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, Chenmunka, Misti, ScotM, Drew Jul 2 '15 at 2:07

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    Do you mean "stress" instead of "syllable"? A syllable is (roughly) how many times your chin goes down when you say a word. – Sawbones Jun 24 '15 at 19:55
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    That argument is indefensible! – bib Jun 24 '15 at 21:44
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    Your assumption (most English words are supposed to be pronounced with one stress only) is incorrect. – ghoppe Jun 24 '15 at 21:47
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    Words having two stresses are quite common in American English and less so in British English. But you're quite wrong when you say English words are "supposed to be" pronounced with one stress only ... a long enough word will have two stresses even in British English. – Peter Shor Jun 24 '15 at 23:37
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is based on a false premise of pronunciation. – ScotM Jun 30 '15 at 14:22

English words often have a primary and a secondary stress, especially when they are long (4 syllables or more). In your example, "pen" has the primary stress, and "tra" has the secondary stress.

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    But it sound fine to me to just pronounce it with one stress. Just on "pen" – most venerable sir Jun 24 '15 at 19:58
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    Even words of three syllables, if they are accented on the first, routinely get a secondary stress on the third: cataract is a fine example. Iambic meter would not be nearly so prevalent in English-language poetry if it were otherwise. – Brian Donovan Jun 24 '15 at 20:07
  • @BrianDonovan - Hm, I don't stress two syllables with cataract... I think it depends on a variety of things, including it's pronunciation in another language (the one from which it evolved or was borrowed, whether the last syllable changes the function of the word, etc. But I've already said far more than I actually know. I often find the stress is on the antepentultimate syllable, which follows Latin. E.g. escapade /escapism, vertigo/vertiginous, etc. – anongoodnurse Jun 24 '15 at 22:41

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