Stress inform speech

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Stress inform speech

This first article in the series concerns what I view as one of the most important aspects of English pronunciation, one that receives the least structured attention: In English and other stress-timed languages, stressed syllables occur at regular intervals throughout regular speech.

Unstressed syllables occur in between. Stressed and unstressed syllables take up different lengths of time stressed syllables typical being longer and more audible. Phonologists classify syllable stress or lack of syllable stress using varying tiered systems of classification.

One is a four-way stress classification: It is important to take a moment to look at reduced vowels; they may be viewed in an informal way as the antithesis of the stressed syllable, that is, lying at the other end of emphasis they receive in the pronunciation of a word.

Reduced vowels in a multi-syllabic word occur in syllables which are unstressed. However, these aren't actually rules, as they are descriptive rather than prescriptive.

Your native speaker will not find it easy, as the syllable stress is such an integral part of the word's pronunciation that it cannot easily be varied without making the word incomprehensible. Native speakers were not taught syllable stress; rather, they learn it as part of the normal pronunciation of a word, by listening to others pronounce the word.

Stress inform speech

Word stress rules this list is not exhaustive nor is any attempt being made to present it as exhaustive; however, it provides a good framework for understanding that there are some general patterns to syllable stress in multi-syllabic English words.

Stress on 1st syllable: Most two-syllable nouns, such as label, format, interest, pity, treaty, purchase Most two-syllable adjectives, such as lucky, grateful, handsome, fearful, active, skittish Compound nouns, such as blackboard, sidewalk, streetlight, shoelace, backhand, headset 2.

Stress on 2nd syllable or last syllable of a two-syllable word: Most two-syllable verbs, such as invent, reply, decide, persuade, divulge, conduct, implore Compound adjectives, such as run-down, close-cut, high-strung, pumped-up, dim-witted, ill-fitting Compound and two-word phrasal verbs, such as withdraw, undo, pass out, give up 3.

Stress on first syllable in compound nouns hair brush, hay fever, pot holder, wind tunnel In many case, word stress simply must be learned, without rules to do the teaching. It is helpful to teach students that the stress in multi-syllabic words will cause the stressed syllables to be spoken more audibly and with a bit more length than other syllables.

The sounds on unstressed syllables will be muted or unclear. The fact that imperfect pronunciation of these muted or unclear syllables doesn't greatly impede a word from being understood tells us much about the importance of stressed syllables in the understandability by native speakers of many English words.

I don't recommend that you rely on rules to do your teaching, even for grammar. You may want to have your students discover some of these rules on their own. Native speakers do not learn these syllable stress rules; and native speakers also have some difficulty placing the stress in unfamiliar multi-syllabic words such as hegemony, not a commonly used word among native speakers, and which according to my dictionary can take the primary stress on the first or second syllable.

A greater problem still for students, and for young native speakers teenagers for example is handling shifting syllable stress in the different grammatical forms of a word: Study the vowels sounds of the different syllables above as an example.

What to do to give student practice with syllable stress? Students do not learn by memorizing rules. Instead, they need structured activities that give them practice with syllable stress. One activity involves the teacher preparing by writing down multi-syllabic wordswith the primary stress at different positions, on separate cards or slips of paper.

Another activity allows students to experiment with multi-syllabic words where the stress is placed on different syllables for each word. Students work in pairs or groups of three and are given cards on which one word is written two or three times, each instance indicating a different stressed syllable: Hearing and discussing incorrect stress placement is, I believe more beneficial than students simply being corrected when they make the primary stress placement incorrectly.

This approach allows students to experiment with word stress and have fun with it.


Not to mention that experimentation is an excellent form of practice and learning. A third activity asks learners to practice shifting syllabic stress in different grammatical forms of a word:This book is full of creative ideas for use with children who have difficulty in coping with change, stress and normal levels of anxiety.

Supported by a comprehensive but accessible theory section, the practical exercises are a simple and fun way of helping children to learn healthy stress management strategies. Remember these are ideas for informative speech topics, so you just want to inform your audience not persuade them to take an action or try to convince them that something is "good" or "bad".

You are just letting them know the facts. Informative Speech General purpose: To inform Specific purpose: To inform the audience about the 3 major causes of stress for college students Central idea: There are 3 major causes of stress for college students %(5).

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