Syllable – Stressed   Leave a comment

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In multi-syllable words the stress falls on one of the syllableswhile the other

Vectorized version of Image:Cardinal vowel ton...

Vectorized version of Image:Cardinal vowel tongue position-front.png. For image details, see below (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

syllables tend to be spoken over quickly. This leads to sounds that are not clear (muted) on unstressed syllables. In order to improve your pronunciation, focus on pronouncing the stressed syllable clearly. However, don’t be afraid to “mute” (not say clearly) the other unstressed vowels. Listen to the examples by clicking on “listen”. Return to this page using the “back” button on your browser.

For example:

PersonNEL
TOtally
InDUstrial
ToMAto
FanTAstic

Unstressed syllables keep the correct sound, but sound muted. Sometimes, unstressed vowels become a schwa sound – like a soft “uh” sound.

For example:

Little
Repeat
Tomato

At other times, the vowel is pronounced but not stressed.

For example:

Industrial
Noisily

With this in mind, here are the eight common word stress patterns in English.

One Syllable – Stressed

All one syllable words have the stress on the one syllable. The intonation should go down.

EAT
DRINK
SIGN
WELL

Two Syllable – First Syllable Stressed

GIant                 Say: Gi….ant
PICture              Say: Pi..ch..your  like peat..ch.your
HEAting             Say: Heee..t..ing

Two Syllable – Second Syllable Stressed

toDAY               Say: tooo….DAY
aHEAD              Say: aaaa….HEAD
aLLOW              Say: aaa…..LOUUW like LOUD but no “D” and not low

Three Syllable – First Syllable Stressed

Energy              Say:  INN….ER…Geeeee
Operate            Say:  OP..PER……attt no e sound
Organize           Say:  OR..gan…izzzz…. no e sound

Three Syllable – Second Syllable Stressed

meMORial         Say:  Ma…MOR..ee..al
aSSUMPtion      Say:  aaa..some…TION
caNAdian          Say:  CAN…DE…in

Three Syllable – Third Syllable Stressed

employEE
japanESE
voluntEER

Four Syllable – Second Syllable Stressed

psyCHOLogy
eVAporate
cerTIficate

Four Syllable – Third Syllable Stressed

poliTIcian
indiVIdual
repuTAtion

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