I would like to know which word in the questions below is stressed in normal converstion.
What is it?
What is that?
What do you do?
Where do you live?
How about in other circumstances?
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In English, interrogative words nearly always carry stress. So the first words in each of the questions above will be stressed in any non-marked pronuncation.
Assuming that these questions are not repreating any topics that have already been mentioned, we will put the last musical stress in the sentence on the last word representing NEW information:
Notice that if we have already mentioned or indicated something to the listener, this word will not take this last stress—known as the nucleus, or nuclear syllable. Instead the nucleus will move to the preceding word. So, with regard to example (1), if we have already talked about that or shown it to our partner, we will probably not say 4), but rather:
If the listener has just been talking about their job, but we didn't catch exactly what they said, then we won't use example (5). Instead we will say:
Here the nucleus is on the word what because the rest of the words represent information that has already been discussed.
Now let's look at the Original Poster's first example. This is reproduced below:
Notice that the last word here is the word it. Bcause we are using a personal pronoun here, it means that this thing has already been mentioned or indicated by either the speaker or the listener (when I say indicated, I mean brought to the mutual attention of the listener and speaker, so for example the thing may have been physically pointed at). For this reason the stress will shift to the preceding word, the word is:
Notice that this also means that in contrast with example (1), we cannot contract the subject and the verb is in this example: