Phonetics- Stress

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Stress

By:

Noha Wafa'i Moussa Diab

Under supervision of:

Prof. Afaf Abduel Hamied

* Stress definition:
In phonetics, stress is defined as an intensity given to a syllable of speech by a special effort in utterance, resulting in relative loudness. This emphasis in pronunciation may be merely phonetic (i.e. noticeable to the listener but not meaningful). For example, stress differentiates the noun from the verb as in 'present' or 'permit'. * The characteristics of stressed syllables:

We can identify stressed syllables by two different ways:
Production & perception
A) Production: the production of stress depends on the speaker's use of more energy for producing stressed syllables. B) Perception: all stressed syllables have no characteristic in common and that is 'prominence'.

* What makes a syllable prominent?
There are four reasons to make a syllable prominent:
1- Loudness: Stressed syllables are louder than unstressed.

2- Length: stressed syllables are longer than unstressed.

3- Pitch: to place some movement of pitch (whether rising or falling) is considered a kind of stress on that syllable. A stresses syllable is the one which carries a change in Tone "pitch".

4- Quality: A syllable which contains a vowel that is different in quality from neighbouring vowels is considered a stressed syllable.

* These 4 factors of prominence work together.
* Pitch and length are the most important ones.

* Levels of Stress:

1- Primary stress: like a fall from higher to lower pitch. Ex: round.
2- Secondary stress: this is a type of stress weaker than primary stress. Ex: the first syllable of the words: photographic , anthropology -secondary stress is sometimes represented in transcription with a low mark (,). 3- Unstressed: The absence of any recognizable amount of prominence.

⟹ We may have a third and forth level of stress resulting from unstressed syllables containing: ə, I, i, u or a syllabic consonant which sounds less prominent than unstressed syllables containing other vowels. Ex: the first syllable of 'poetic' is more prominent than the first syllable of 'pathetic'.

⟹ The word 'indivisibility' shows four different levels of stress:

a) The syllable /bIl/ is the strongest. (primary stress)
b) The syllable /In/ has a secondary stress.
c) The syllable /vIz/ has a stress weaker than the two preceding syllables, but stronger than the other unstressed syllables. (2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th) ⟹ Certain grammatical categories are always unstressed like prepositions. 'weak forms'

Stress Placement:
There are four factors to decide on stress placement:
1- Whether the word morphologically is simple or complex. 2- The grammatical category of the word (noun, verb, adjective, etc.). 3- The number of syllables in the word.
4- The phonological structure of these syllables.

* Dividing syllables: Strong & Weak
A) Strong syllable: which has a rhyme which either has a syllable peak (a long vowel or diphthong) or a vowel followed by a coda (one or more consonants). Ex: die , heart , bat

B) Weak syllable: which has a syllable peak which is a short vowel and NO CODA unless the syllable peak is the schwa vowel /ə/ or /I/. Ex: 're' in "reduce" & 'pen' in "open"
Very Important Note:
* We can find unstressed strong syllables like: 'dialect' * But only strong syllables can be stressed.
* Weak syllables are always unstressed.

* Two-syllable words:
Either the first or the second syllable will be stressed, not both. Ex: apply , attract , open , enter , equal

* Three-syllable words:
Ex: entertain , resurrect , quantity , cinema , disaster

Complex word stress:
⟹ Types of complex words:
1) Words made from a basic word form (stem) with the addition of an...
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