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  1. Degrees of word stress
  2. Functions of word stress
  3. Linguistically relevant degrees of word stress
  4. Main rules of word stress
  5. Phonetic peculiarities of Germanic Languages. Word Stress and its role in further development of Germanic languages
  6. RAM Stress Test Professional
  7. Stress Rhyme Rhythm Intonation
  8. Stress-interchange
  9. Stress-timed and syllable-timed rhythms
  10. The system of stress
  11. Types of the word stress
  12. Types of utterance stress.

Functions of syllable

  1. Constitutive function.The syllable forms language units of greater magnitude, that are words, morphemes, and utterances.

2. Distinctive function.The syllable is characterized by its ability to differentiate words and word-forms.

I. The stress in the isolated words is termed as word stress. The stress in the connected speech is termed as a sentence stress.

The auditory impression of word stress is that of prominence. And on the auditory level the effect of prominence is produced by a greater degree of loudness, greater length of the stressed syllables, some modifications in its pitch and quality.

On the acoustic level the effect of prominence is achieved by following acoustic parameters.

- intensity;

- duration;

- frequency (fundamental);

- formed structure.


Word stress (WS)is the singling out of one or more syllables in a word which is accompanied by the change of the force of utterance, pitch of the voice, qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the sound, which is usually a vowel.

In different languages one of the factors constituting the word stress is usually more significant then the others.

1. Dynamic or force stress – if special prominence in a stressed syllable or syllables is achieved by the greater force of articulation, which results in greater loudness on the auditory level and greater intensity on the acoustic level. English, German, French, Russian and all European languages have this stress.

2. Musical or tonic.If special prominence in a stressed syllable is mainly achieved through the change of pitch or musical tone. It is observed in the oriental languages. The meaning of the words in these languages depends on the pitch levels of these syllables. In Scandinavian languages the stress is both dynamic and musical

3. Quantitative.If special prominence in the stressed syllables is achieved through the changes in the quantity of the vowels which are longer in the stressed syllables than in unstressed ones. Ukrainian and Russian WS is considered to be mainly quantitative. In English the quantitative component of word stress is not very important because of the non-reduced vowels in the unstressed syllables, which sometimes occur in English words.

4. Qualitative type of stress is achieved through the changes on the quality of the vowel under stress. It is distinguished because in many languages the quality of vowels in stressed syllables differs greatly of the quality of vowels in unstressed syllables.

English word stress is of a complex nature

- dynamic

- quantitative

- qualitative

Ukrainian word stress is considered to be primarily quantitative and secondary qualitative and dynamic.

IIThe opinions of the phoneticians differ as to how many degrees of stress are linguistically relevant in word. They are linguistically relevant because they help to differentiate the meanings of English words.

1. The British linguists (Johns and Kindong) and Russian (Vassiliev) consider that there are 3 degrees of word stress in English

- primary or strong

- secondary or partial

- weak unstressed syllables


2. American linguists (Glisson, Hill) distinguish 4 degrees of word stress:

- primary

- secondary

- tertiary

- weak

Secondary stress occurs before the primary stress while tertiary stress occurs after the primary stress. The difference between secondary and tertiary stress is very subtle and subjective. The criteria is very vague. In General American a tertiary stress effects suffixes of nouns: -ary, -ory, -ony and suffixes of verbs : -ate, -ize, -y which are considered unstressed in Received Pronunciation.

'Terriֽtory, 'dictioֽnary, 'orgaֽnize

Tertiary word stress can be taken for a variant of the secondary word stress because there are no words in English the meaning of which depends on whether they have secondary or tertiary stress. That is why the stress patterns of English words can be defined as 3 degrees of stress: primary, secondary, weak.

The British conception of 3 degrees is accepted as a teaching law. In Russian and Ukrainian word stressed system there are only 2 degrees – primary and weak.


III. Stress can be fixed and free . In languages with the fixed stress the place of stress is limited to a particular syllable in a multi syllable word. In Finnish, Czech and Slovak the stress always falls on the first syllable. In Italian, Welsh it is on the one but last syllable. In French and Turkish the stress falls on the last syllable.

In languages with a free stress its place is not confined to a specific position in a word.

In English Russian Ukrainian word stress is free. That is it may fall on any syllable in a word.

Besides the word stress in the English, Ukrainian and Russian is not only free but it’s also shifting and it performs the semantic function of differentiating lexical units , parts of speech and grammatical forms:

The 'contrast - to con'trast

Though English stress is free there are certain factors or tendencies that determine the place and different degrees of word stress.

Vassiliev describes them as follows:

- recessive tendency

- rhythmic tendency

- retentive tendency

- semantic factor

1. According to the recessive tendency stress falls on the first syllable which is generally the root syllable . It can be of 2 subtypes:

Unstriked – is observed in the native English words and in the assimilated French borrowings having no prefix. ('mother, 'daughter, 'colour, 'restaurant).

Restricted – is characterized by placing the word accent on the root of the word if this word has a prefix which has lost its meaning (be'come, be'gin, a'way)

2. Rhythmical tendency results in alternating stressed and unstressed syllables. It caused the appearance of the secondary stress in multy-syllabic words



According to the rhythmical tendency primary stress is on the third syllable from the end in 3 and 4 syllable words.




In words with more than 4 syllables we very often find the influence of both – the rhythmic and recessive tendencies.


All this variations are accepted in the Johns dictionary.

Under the influence of rhythm the accentual structure of the word can be pronounced with one single stress under the influence of rhythm . The rhythmic stress effects the stress patterns of a great number of words in English


Under the influence of rhythm compounds of 3 elements may have a single stress on the second syllable.

3. Retentive tendency is characteristic by the retention of the primary accent in the derivation on the same syllable on which it falls in the parent word.

'Similar - 'similarly

More commonly the primary stress is retained on the derivative word as the secondary accent

'Similar – ˌsimi'larity

'Personal - ˌperso'nality

'Nation – ˌnatio'nality

4. According to the semantic tendency words with separate prefixes and compound words have two equally strong stresses


'Twenty 'one

Such prominence is given to negative prefix :

- un, in, mis, anti, non

- ex, vice, sub, under, ultra

- teen

- semantically important element in compound word


A special analysis of English stress was made by Torsuev. He worked out the typology of accentual structure. He distinguishes more then 100 stress patterns, which form 11main types. (Sokolova M.A. A theoretical course, p.127-128)

He classifies them according to the number of stressed syllables, their degree or character (the primary and the secondary stress). Accentual types and accentual structures are closely connected with the morphological type of words, with the number of syllables, the semantic value of the root and the prefix of the word.

The accentual types are:

1. / ┴ ─ /. (74%)This accentual type marks both simple and compound words. The accentual structures of this type may include two and more syllables, e.g. 'fafher, 'possibly, 'mother-in-law, 'gas-pipe.

2. / ┴ ┴ /. (20%) The accentual type is commonly realized in compound words, most of them are with separable prefixes, e.g. 'radio-'active, 're'write, 'diso'bey.

3. / ┴ ┴ ┴ / and 4. / ┴ ┴ ┴ ┴ /. The accentual types are met in initial compound abbreviations like 'U'S'A, 'U'S'S'R.

5. / ┴ ┬ ─ /. The type is realized both in simple and compound words, very

common among compound words, e.g. 'hair-,dresser, 'substructure.

6. / ┬ ┴ ─/. (3%) The accentual type marks a great number of simple words and some compound words as well. In simple words the stresses fall onto:

1. the prefix and the root: maga'zine;

2. the root and the suffix: ,hospi'tality;

3. the prefix and the suffix: disorganization.

The most widely spread among the enumerated accentual types are supposed to be Type 1, Type 2, Type 5 and Type 6. Each type includes varieties of definite accentual structures with different numbers of syllables and marks thousands of words. So the four of them cover the main bulk of most common English words and are therefore most typical for the English vocabulary.

The variability of the word accentual structure is multiplied in connected speech. The accentual structure of words may be altered under the influence of rhythm, e.g. An 'unpolished 'stone but: The 'stone was un'polished.

The tempo of speech may influence the accentual pattern of words. With the quickening of the speed the carefulness of articulation is diminished, the vowels are reduced or elided, the secondary stress may be dropped, e.g. The 'whole organi'zation of the 'meeting was 'faulty.

IV. Word stress performs:

1. constitutive

2. identificatory or recognative

3. distinctive

1. Word stress constitutes a word. It organizes the syllables of a word into a language unit. A word doesn’t exist without the word stress. Word stress performs the constitutive function.

2. Word stress has this function because the stress patterns of words enable people identify definite combinations of sounds as meaningful linguistic units. A distortion of the stress patterns can hamper understanding or produce the strange accent.

3. Word stress is capable of differentiation the meaning of words and their forms.

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