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  1. #1
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    Default Where The Stress in "Nice to meet you."

    Dear Experts,
    According to an American speaking book, the stress in "nice to meet you" changes as in the following dialogue. I would like to know why! The stressed words will be written in CAPITAL.

    Ali : DAN, this is LEE. LEE, this is my FREIND, DAN.
    LEE: NICE to MEET you. (Notice the stress is on NICE and MEET)
    DAN: Nice to MEET YOU. Are YOU from AROUND HERE? (The stress here, however, is on MEET and YOU).
    etc.
    What caused the stress shift here? Are there any examples to show similar cases. I know that stressed words are in general: 1. Content words 2. New information. 3. To show contrast (e.g. I meant BLUE not WHITE).
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Where The Stress in "Nice to meet you."

    Dan is using your second example. It's already been said that it was nice to meet Dan, now Dan replies with a different stress, simply to avoid a robotic response. He is stressing that it is indeed a pleasure to meet Lee.

    Think of it this way. You have just been introduced to Nelson Mandella, or someone else who is your personal hero. It was accidental, and Mr Mandella has been going down a reception line, repeating like a robot, "Nice to meet you." "Nice to meet you." "Nice to meet you." Then he stops, reads your nametag, extends his hand, and politely says, "Nice to meet you, Sel. I've heard about you."

    If you could prevent yourself from fainting dead away at this point, and find it possible to speak at all, you would say, "Nice to MEET YOU, Mr Mandela" and then blush very brightly.

    In your example, Dan wasn't all that excited to meet Lee, but he did want to stress what comes across as at least equal pleausure.

  3. #3
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Where The Stress in "Nice to meet you."

    Quote Originally Posted by sel6000 View Post
    Dear Experts,
    According to an American speaking book, the stress in "nice to meet you" changes as in the following dialogue. I would like to know why! The stressed words will be written in CAPITAL.

    Ali : DAN, this is LEE. LEE, this is my FREIND, DAN.
    LEE: NICE to MEET you. (Notice the stress is on NICE and MEET)
    DAN: Nice to MEET YOU. Are YOU from AROUND HERE? (The stress here, however, is on MEET and YOU).
    etc.
    What caused the stress shift here? Are there any examples to show similar cases. I know that stressed words are in general: 1. Content words 2. New information. 3. To show contrast (e.g. I meant BLUE not WHITE).
    Thank you.
    The only difference is that Lee answered first, giving the normal greeting with the normal stress. Dan gives what is seemingly the same greeting, but meaning "It is also nice for ME to MEET YOU".

    Doesn't this happen with greetings in your language - that the second person to say a greeting phrases it a little differently?

    Other examples are:
    A: Thank you.
    B: No, Thank you

    Child A: Waaa; he hit me.
    Child B: Waaa; he hit me!

  4. #4
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Where The Stress in "Nice to meet you."

    Quote Originally Posted by jlinger View Post
    In your example, Dan wasn't all that excited to meet Lee, but he did want to stress what comes across as at least equal pleausure.
    I agree with the rest. I'm not sure why you say Dan isn't that excited to meet Lee. Why does he bother to go on and ask Lee about himself?
    (I'll admit they didn't throw themselves into each others arms)

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    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Where The Stress in "Nice to meet you."

    That's what I meant. Compared to meeting Mandela, it wasn't that exciting. He was just being polite. I should try to read into his words or stress that he was not pleased.

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    Smile Thanks

    Thanks Jlinger and Raymott.
    Right! If the stress was repeated exactly the same, it would sound robotic and worse a mockery (as when children repeat your same words to tease you).

    Stressing "YOU" shows more courtesy as if you are saying "What is really nice is MEETING YOU"

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by sel6000 View Post
    Thanks Jlinger and Raymott.
    Right! If the stress was repeated exactly the same, it would sound robotic and worse a mockery (as when children repeat your same words to tease you). Good example.

    Stressing "YOU" shows more courtesy as if you are saying "What is really nice is MEETING YOU"

    Thanks again.
    Your original post had the right idea - contrast: 'Nice to meet you'/ '[No, what is really] nice [is for me] to meet you.


    b

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