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Syllable : Unit of speech, either a whole word orone of the parts into which a word can bedivided or separated, usually containing avowel (nucleus).Stress : When a word or syllable is pronouncedwith greater force than other words in thesame sentence or other syllables in thesame word.
In Old English, many words were monosyllabic. Ifthe word was multisyllabic, the first syllable ofword was always stressed with the exception ofthose words beginning with a prefix. If the wordbegan with a prefix, the next syllable wasautomatically stressed. This straightforward and consistent pattern ofsyllable stress was disrupted when loanwordsfrom various languages entered into Middle andModern English.
Because there is no governing principle todictate pronunciation, grammar, andspelling rules for the English language,many factors effect stress patterns.These factors include (but are not limited)to standards of pronunciation, the formalityof the speaking situation, and dialects.
There are two main types of syllable stressrecognized by the IPA. The symbols used todenote stress can be found in thesuprasegmentals section of the IPA. At the word level, primary stress is denoted by asuperior vertical stroke (/ ‘ /) as in apple [‘æpl],and secondary stress is denoted by an inferiorvertical stroke (/ , /) as in yellow [‘ jel,əʊ].
A syllable receiving either primary orsecondary stress is considered to be astressed syllable. There are also syllables that receive nostress. No symbol of any type is placed ona nonstressed syllable.
This is important to remember that ....“Good listening skills arecrucial to mastery of theconcept of syllable stress”.
Monosyllabic Words Bisyllabic Words Multisyllabic Words
Monosyllabic word is a word which contains only onesyllable. In monosyllabic words, most of the syllables are notdenoted by the stroke (/ ‘ /) except when they stand withina sentence.Examples:You [ ju: ]Good [ gʊd ]Tie [ taɪ ]Fan [ fæn ], etc.A. MONOSYLLABIC WORD
Bysillabic word is a word which consists oftwo syllables. There are four common patterns that canbe noted in pronouncing and transcribingtwo syllable words at the word level.B. BISYLLABIC WORDSThey are:
This type is exemplified by two syllablewords in which the first syllable receivesprimary stress and the second syllablereceives no stress.Type 1:
Type 3 is exemplified by one syllable receivingsecondary stress. Although it is more common tohave the first syllable receive the primary stress andthe second syllable receive the secondary stress, theother variation is often used in pronunciation. Examples:present [‘pre,zent] [,prɪ’zent]Type 3:
Type 4 is exemplified by both syllables receivingprimary stress. These words are usually in form ofcompound words.Examples:baseball [‘beɪs ‘bɔ:l]hotdog [‘hɒt ‘dɒg]Type 4:
Multisillabic word is a word whichconsists of more than two syllables. Multisyllabic words may have morethan one syllable that receivesecondary stress.C. Multisyllabic Words
The example patterns for three syllable words are asfollow:1. Stresses-unstressed-unstressed:animal [‘æ nɪ ml]2. Unstressed-stressed-unstressed:disgraceful [dɪs ‘greɪs fəl]3. Unstressed-stressed-stressed:Chicago [ʃə ‘kɑ: ,gəʊ]4. Stressed-unstressed-stressed:buffalo [‘bʌ fə ,ləʊ]5. Stressed-stressed-unstressed:electric [,ɪ ‘lek trɪk]
Sample stress patterns for four syllable words are asfollow:1. Stressed-unstressed-unstressed-unstressed:Questionable [‘kwes tʃə nə bl]2. Unstressed-stressed-unstressed-unstressed:Disgracefully [dɪs ‘greɪs fə li]3. Unstressed-stressed-stressed-unstressed:Accomplishment [ə ‘kʌm ,plɪʃ mənt]4. Stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed:Aromatic [‘æ rə ,mæ tɪk]5. Stressed-stressed-unstressed-unstressed:Obesity [,əʊ ’bi: sɪ ti]
The approximant /w/ and /j/ are frequently used asintrusive in conversational speech. The intrusive phonemes appears in words such asbuyer [‘baɪə(r)] → [‘baɪjɚ]employee [ɪm’plɔɪi:] → [‘ɪm ,plɔɪji]or between words at the phrase level, as in:how about [‘haʊ ə’baʊt] → [‘haʊw ə ‘baʊt]. The inclusion of an intrusive approximant is usually called“transition glides”.INTRUSION APPROXIMANTS
The use of Open Juncture (a short pausebetween phonemes, syllables, or words) allowsfor the vowel pronunciation without an intrusiveapproximant. In conversational speech, Closed Juncture (thesmooth transition between phoneme, syllables,or words without a time separation) invites theuse of intrusive approximants.[‘baɪə(r)] → [‘baɪjɚ]OPEN JUNCTURE CLOSED JUNCTURE