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  1. #1
    Kojak Peg Guest

    Default stressed and unstressed syllables

    Hi Everyone
    I'm new here, and was hoping you guys might be able to help? I've been trying to improve me understanding of stressed and unstessed syllabes and I'm having a little trouble with a few words. For example:

    all,
    day,
    to

    In piety they are all stressed

    Shall I comPARE thee TO a SUMmer's DAY

    tell ALL the TRUTH but TELL it SLANT

    However, when I look them up, in the dictionary, they seem to be unstressed. So, I must be going wrong, somewhere. Furthermore, are long vowels stressed, while short vowels are unstressed? And could some one recommend an online dictionary that uses upper and lower case to demonstrate syllable stress.

    Many thanks

    Kojak Peg
    Last edited by Kojak Peg; 25-Apr-2013 at 05:22.

  2. #2
    skeips's Avatar
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    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    You can go to this site for the pronunciation of different words.
    http://www.pronouncehow.com/english/

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    Welcome to the forum, Kojak.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojak Peg View Post
    In piety they are all stressed
    Do you mean 'in reality'? In fact, they may or may not be stressed within a sentence. It depends on their function, and what the speaker is trying to convey. Dictionaries only note stress within a word. There is can be no syllable-stress in a single-syllable word.
    Shall I comPARE thee TO a SUMmer's DAY
    'To' is not stressed there.
    Last edited by 5jj; 25-Apr-2013 at 07:14.

  4. #4
    Kojak Peg Guest

    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    Thanks for the welcome 5jj

    Oh No, I meant in poety, sorry misspelling.

    In Shakespeare's sonnet, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day. The words to and day are both stressed, that's what I find confusing. And in Emily Dickinson's poem, Tell all the truth, but tell it slant. The word all is also stressed, which confuses me, too
    ...u.../....u.../......u..../.u..../...u......./
    Shall I compare thee to a summer's day
    ..u..../..u....../......u.../...u..../
    Tell all the truth, but tell it slant
    Last edited by Kojak Peg; 25-Apr-2013 at 07:20.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojak Peg View Post
    In Shakespeare's sonnet, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day. The words to and day are both stressed, that's what I find confusing.
    As I said in my previous post, 'to' is not stressed. 'Day' is not particularly stressed.

  6. #6
    Kojak Peg Guest

    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    If that is the case, then, Shakespeare didn't write in iambic pentameter. Nor did, Emily Dickinson, write in hymn Meter, but they both did, because in poetry those unstressed words become stressed. However, I don't understand the rule. So, what I'd like to know is when does, a single unstressed syllable word, become a single stressed syllable word?

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojak Peg View Post
    If that is the case, then, Shakespeare didn't write in iambic pentameter. Nor did, Emily Dickinson, write in hymn Meter, but they both did, because in poetry those unstressed words become stressed.
    A stressed syllable in poetry is not the same as saying that a word is stressed in normal speech/
    However, I don't understand the rule. So, what I'd like to know is when does, a single unstressed syllable word, become a single stressed syllable word?
    Do you want to talk about poetry or normal speech?

    ps. Since my last response you edited your previous one to appear quite different. Please do not do that - it can confuse later readers, and make some responses seem strange.

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    As we frequently point out to learners on this site, poetry and song lyrics should not be used as necessarily good examples of English grammar, construction or, as is the case here, stress. The stresses in both are put where they are to fit the rhythm of the piece. They are not used how we use them in spoken English.

    The iambic pentameter can be used to show that each line has ten syllables and those syllables are divided into ten pairs. For example:

    Thou ART / more LOVE / ly AND / more TEM / per ATE

    Those stresses have been put there to show how iambic pentameter works. However, when someone is reading the sonnet aloud, they wouldn't put the stress on those syllables. It would sound ridiculous. They would read it as we say it in everyday speech, which is more like "Thou art more LOVE-ly and more TEMPerate". At a push, they might stress the word "more" both times, but they certainly wouldn't read it aloud in the ba-BOOM ba-BOOM ba-BOOM ba-BOOM ba-BOOM rhythm. That is usually how a child pronounces poetry.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  9. #9
    Kojak Peg Guest

    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    Hi 5jjj
    A single syllable word can be stressed or unstressed. To answer your other question: "am I talking about normal speech, or poetry", I'm talking about both. So, my question is, how can a single syllable word be unstressed in normal speech, yet be stressed in poetry? I'm sorry for any confusion, but I did try to make myself, as plan as possible. Siting, two examples, Shakespeare and Dickinson. In Shakespeare sonnet, Shall I compare thee to a summers day. The words to and day, which are normally unstressed becomes stressed. I'm simply trying to find out how this can be and what the rule is. As I'm sure there are many other examples of unstressed words being stressed

  10. #10
    Kojak Peg Guest

    Default Re: stressed and unstressed syllables

    Thanks for the reply emsr2d2

    Thou ART / more LOVE / ly AND / more TEM / per ATE


    Thou ART more LOVEly AND more TEMperATE. The and has been changed from and to AND. All I'm, simply, trying to find out why, because if the and hadn't been changed to AND. It wouldn't be iambic pentameter. The and goes from unstressed in normal speech to stressed in poetry. Why? what is the rule that I can follow? Is there a rule? Are there any tips, or suggestions?
    Last edited by Kojak Peg; 25-Apr-2013 at 08:34.

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