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  1. #1
    maral55 is offline Member
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    Default Stress? How should I decipher?

    Hello everybody,

    I have a major problem with tests which ask about pronunciation and particularly stress of the words.

    How should I know in which syllable is the stress of a word? Do I have to memorize all of them?

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    'Memorizing them all' is an onerous and slow and error-prone approach. But you do need to acquire a knowledge of them all if you want to make sense and make sense of what people say, and if 'memorizing them all' is the way you choose, good luck! There's no magic rule, but learning to use a good dictionary is a good start - one that, for example, marks the difference between /prǝ'dju:s/ (verb) and /'prɒdju:s/ (noun). (Hint: if you can't follow that example, learn to use the IPA symbols - at least the ones you need to describe English. The IPA is the most reliable tool there is, along with a good dictionary.)

    b

  3. #3
    maral55 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    Is knowing on which syllable is the stress, really that important in speaking? I had never realized the need to knowing it until I came across these tests an exam. and well you don't have a dictionary during an exam so what other way is there other than memorizing them?

    I'm trying to learn IPA symbols and well they do have some rules. but what about the stress?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    Quote Originally Posted by maral55 View Post
    Is knowing on which syllable is the stress, really that important in speaking? I had never realized the need to knowing it until I came across these tests an exam. and well you don't have a dictionary during an exam so what other way is there other than memorizing them?

    I'm trying to learn IPA symbols and well they do have some rules. but what about the stress?
    Regarding your question that I have marked in red - ABSOLUTELY! It's vital.

    Any word with more than one syllable needs to be pronounced with the stress on the correct syllable or it will be (at the very least) very difficult to listen to and possibly even impossible to understand.

    Here is a sentence full of multi-syllable words and I have capitalised the stressed part:

    MANy photOgraphers deLIGHT in TAking PHOtos of PEOple who parTIcipate in magNIficent WEddings.

    If you were to say to me:

    MaNY photographERS DElight in taKING phoTOS of peoPLE who PARticipate in magniFIcent weDDINGS

    ...I would find it extremely difficult to follow.

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    ...
    If you were to say to me:

    MaNY photographERS DElight in taKING phoTOS of peoPLE who PARticipate in magniFIcent weDDINGS

    ...I would find it extremely difficult to follow.
    That easy A lot of people would find it impossible.

    maral55: In IPA transcriptions, an apostrophe shows you where to put the /'emfǝsis/. In class, teachers sometimes omit them; but dictionaries should all use them.

    b

  6. #6
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    euncu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    maral55, you may find the link below useful;

    Word Stress

  7. #7
    maral55 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Regarding your question that I have marked in red - ABSOLUTELY! It's vital.

    Any word with more than one syllable needs to be pronounced with the stress on the correct syllable or it will be (at the very least) very difficult to listen to and possibly even impossible to understand.

    Here is a sentence full of multi-syllable words and I have capitalised the stressed part:

    MANy photOgraphers deLIGHT in TAking PHOtos of PEOple who parTIcipate in magNIficent WEddings.

    If you were to say to me:

    MaNY photographERS DElight in taKING phoTOS of peoPLE who PARticipate in magniFIcent weDDINGS

    ...I would find it extremely difficult to follow.
    Oh my God, so if I ever talk to a native it would sound like a disaster! because I have never cared to learn and in fact I never realize it when I listen to others speaking. To me it just seems like all the syllabls are the same unless the speaker is intentionally trying to put an emphasise on a part of word.

  8. #8
    maral55 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    That easy A lot of people would find it impossible.

    maral55: In IPA transcriptions, an apostrophe shows you where to put the /'emfǝsis/. In class, teachers sometimes omit them; but dictionaries should all use them.

    b
    You are right but what about when you don't have a dictionary?

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stress? How should I decipher?

    Quote Originally Posted by maral55 View Post
    You are right but what about when you don't have a dictionary?
    By using a dictionary when you can (if only to get information about pronunciation and stress - there are other things, especially context, to help with the meanings of new words), you'll get to need it less and less.

    I'm not saying it's easy. Learning a language isn't. Stress is important - if not crucial - in most (all?) languages. In your own, capitano has four different meanings, depending on which of the four syllables you stress.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 06-Aug-2010 at 23:38. Reason: Added last para

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