# Thread: double stress in cardinal numerals?

1. ## double stress in cardinal numerals?

Hello,

I'm really curious about the stress pattern in cardinal numerals from 13 to 19. My (old Soviet) book says the numerals have double stress - the first one on the root, the second one on the -teen suffix, the stresses being of the same intensity. However, all dictionary entries show that the primary stress falls on the suffix.
In addition, my source states that such a numeral, when used in a sentence or a phrase, undergoes a stress shift depending on what words surround it.
The book gives the following examples:

bus number fifteen
fifteen apples

What do you think about it? I'd be interested to find out what the stress pattern really is.

2. ## Re: double stress in cardinal numerals?

Originally Posted by Verona_82
Hello,

I'm really curious about the stress pattern in cardinal numerals from 13 to 19. My (old Soviet) book says the numerals have double stress - the first one on the root, the second one on the -teen suffix, the stresses being of the same intensity. However, all dictionary entries show that the primary stress falls on the suffix.
In addition, my source states that such a numeral, when used in a sentence or a phrase, undergoes a stress shift depending on what words surround it.
The book gives the following examples:

bus number fifteen
fifteen apples

What do you think about it? I'd be interested to find out what the stress pattern really is.
The stress can be on the first, second, or both syllables, depending on the context.
There're probably also regional variations.

Uncle: You must be fifteen by now. (or fif-teen, but not fifteen unless a number has already been mentioned)
B: I'm sixteen!

By the way, this also occurs when saying ordinal numbers.
A: What's the date ... the fifteenth?
B: It's the sixteenth.

3. ## Re: double stress in cardinal numerals?

Here is some BrE information:

Jones/Gimson gave equal stress to the two syllables, but added that the primary stress could be on just one, either one, "according to sentence stress".

Wells, and also Jones/Roach, give primary stress to the teen, but give secondary stress to fif, indicating that the first syllable is not unstressed.

In fifteen days, they retain the secondary stress of fif, but move the primary stress to days, leaving teen unstressed

Jones, Daniel (1917), Everyman's English Pronouncing Dictionary [13th edition (1967) revised by A C Gimson], London: Dent.
Jones, Daniel, (1917), English Pronouncing Dictionary [16th edition (2003), edited by Roach, Peter, Hartman James, & Setter, Jane], Cambridge: CUP
Wells, J C (1990) Longman Pronunciation Dictionary [3rd edition (2008), Harlow: Pearson Longman.

I follow the Gimson/Roach pronunciation of the number, but at the moment I am finding it hard to produce 'fifteen days' naturally.

4. ## Re: double stress in cardinal numerals?

Originally Posted by Verona_82
Hello,

bus number fifteen
fifteen apples

What do you think about it? I'd be interested to find out what the stress pattern really is.
Your book is correct. You cannot have two successive stresses in a phrase: that's why the stress on fifteen shifts, because the stress on "apples" stay the same.

5. ## Re: double stress in cardinal numerals?

Originally Posted by raindoctor
Your book is correct. You cannot have two successive stresses in a phrase: that's why the stress on fifteen shifts, because the stress on "apples" stay the same.
Are you sure? This contradicts all the posts so far.
Firstly the book says that you can have two successive stresses in a phrase.
Secondly, I say you can - "stress pattern", for example.
Do you mean something different from what you've written?
What's a spondee?

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