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Thread: word stress

  1. #1
    bonar.simorangkir is offline Newbie
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    Default word stress

    Is it important to know about word stress?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by bonar.simorangkir View Post
    Is it important to know about word stress?
    Yes. Next question?

    b

  3. #3
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    Default Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Yes. Next question?
    b
    Perhaps that was a bit flippant - and not very welcoming.

    Word stress is important in English, but perhaps less so than in some other languages. The Italian capitano, for example, means 'captain'; but you can put an accent on either of the other three syllables, and get a meaningful word: cápitano, capítano and capitanó are all parts of the verb capitare. I can't think of a four-syllable word in English where you can change the syntax by reassigning stress in that way.

    However reassigning stress does have an effect in English, and a more complex one than is the case in Italian. In that example, the vowels remain -a-i-a-o; there are various phonetic changes in the vowel sounds, but the phonemes remain recognizable: /a/ /i/ /a/ /o/. In many English pairs though, like produce (n)/produce (v), changing the stress changes the phonemes: /'prɔdju:s/ (n) as against /prə'dju:s/ (v). And not just the vowel phonemes - refuse (n)/refuse (v) => /'refju:s/ as against /rı'fju:z/; you could even have /'ri:fju:z/ in some rare contexts (replacing the fuse in a plug).

    There is also the general point that clear and unambiguous communication requires accurate word stress.

    So I'd say it's essential to learn it and essential to practise it.

    b

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    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Perhaps that was a bit flippant - and not very welcoming.

    Word stress is important in English, but perhaps less so than in some other languages. The Italian capitano, for example, means 'captain'; but you can put an accent on either of the other three syllables, and get a meaningful word: cápitano, capítano and capitanó are all parts of the verb capitare. I can't think of a four-syllable word in English where you can change the syntax by reassigning stress in that way.
    I think they most likely have different emphasis, but do they have they same basic (lexical?/word?) meaning?

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    Default Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen View Post
    I think they most likely have different emphasis, but do they have they same basic (lexical?/word?) meaning?
    No; they have different syntax and different semantics. They are nothing to do with captaincy. They are three different inflexions of the verb capitare (which I think means 'to happen' - though it's 15 years since I did my very few Italian lessons, so I'm open to correction on this point

    Anyway, even if they were all related (which they're not) the point about the link between stress and meaning would still be valid.

    b

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