Phonetics and Phonolgy Stress on Vowels

Essay by SilverGreenCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2014

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17 Explain with examples the rules for stress placement in simple verbs/nouns.

In order to explain about the rules for stress placement, we must understand first how stress plays an important role in the English language. For other languages such as French, each syllable is equally stressed unlike the English language, for which stress happens only at the required syllables, for which there are rules in determining its stress placement, which, in turn, will determine the type of word class of the particular word. Equal stress placement such as seen and heard in the French language is commonly known as the syllable-timed language. There is almost none or very little variation that can be observed in syllable-timed language (Hassan, 2012). English, on the other hand, is a different case altogether. Only the required syllables are stressed, which creates a rhythm in the language, thus giving it the name stress-timed rhythm (Hassan, 2012).

However, these names is merely discussed in this essay to illustrate how stress creates a variation in the English language, which should give the readers quite an image of the variety of pronunciation in the English language, of which stress plays quite a role of its own.

Stress can be identified by its unique characteristics that distinguishes it from the weaker syllables that some identify as 'unstressed syllables'. Stress is mainly viewed from the points of view of production and of perception, both of which are closely related and yet is not identical in any way (Roach, 2009). The production point of view is all about the extra muscular energy dispensed in producing a stressed syllable compared to the muscular energy used when producing a weak syllable. From the point of view of perception, however, it is another matter entirely, because it focuses on the various characteristics...