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    #1

    Secondary Stress in English

    Dear teachers and members:

    My understanding about the secondary stress is as follows:

    If a sound is neither stressed nor reduced, consequently it's neither weaker than the reduced sound nor stronger than the stressed one as those sounds in one-syllable words;.

    Hunt /hʌnt/ ;Think /θɪŋk/; Road /roʊd/;Take /teɪk/

    Schwa sound is a reduced sound, and primary stress is a stressed sound; secondary stress is a sound in-between.

    As stated above, secondary stress is weaker than primary stress and stronger than Schwa. It is placed prior to the syllable it stresses with a short vertical mark at the foot of the syllable with the secondary stress. I've noticed that all word having a secondary stress has a primary stress in it also; I don't know if this is a phonological rule.

    Secondary stress occurs in words from three syllables on

    1) Recommend (rec-om-mend) /ˌrekəˈmend/; 2) Conversation (con-ver-sa-tion) /ˌkɒn vərˈseɪ ʃən/ 3) Pronunciation (pro-nun-ci-a-tion) /prəˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃən/

    I would like to know if one-syllable words and verbs either take the secondary stress or primary one in connected speech; for instance:

    (a) I think she was in the city.

    /ˌaɪˈθɪŋkʃiːwəzɪnəˈsɪti/

    (b) March is a beautiful month.

    /
    ˌmɑː(r)tʃəzəˈbjuːtəfəlˌmʌnθ/

    Your insight and feedback will be deeply appreciated.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 08-Apr-2015 at 06:50.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    This example from Wikipedia suggest that you can do that:

    Jack, preparing the way, went on.
    [ˈdʒk | pɹəˌpɛəɹɪŋ ə ˈweɪ | wɛnt ˈɒn ‖ ]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosodic_unit

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    All words of more than one syllable have a primary stress.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #4

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    I already kinow that Chralies Bernstein, but I would like to know if those stresses I assigned to those words above are correct?

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    Quote Originally Posted by The apprentice View Post
    I already kinow that Chralies Bernstein, but I would like to know if those stresses I assigned to those words above are correct?
    Call me Charlie!

    Sorry, I thought Raymott had already answered that.

    You wrote: "If a sound is neither stressed nor reduced, consequently it's neither weaker than the reduced sound nor stronger than the stressed one...."

    I'm saying that that never happens. In a two-syllable word, one syllable is always stronger. In a word with more than two, one is always strongest.

    If you're talking about words of more than two syllables, it varies. And it doesn't matter, because those secondary stresses usually take care of themselves.

    You also wrote: "Schwa sound is a reduced sound...."

    That's not always true. For instance, the stress is on schwa syllables in turtle, concerning, and murderer.

    In "connected speech" (sentences) it varies, depending on context. As a stand-alone statement, we would usually say:

    "I think she was in the CIty."
    "MARCH is a beautiful MONTH" or "MARCH is a BEAUtiful month."

    But in a conversation, they could be:

    "I THINK she was in the city" or "I think she WAS in the city" or "I think she was IN the city."

    "March IS a beautiful month.
    "

    I wouldn't use any secondary stresses on any of those.

    Hope that helps!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    "That's not always true. For instance, the stress is on schwa syllables in turtle, concerning, and murderer."

    We must use a different definition for "schwa". In your three examples, the stress is on a short u, a short e, and a short u, respectively. Not all short vowels are schwas.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    Shwa (/ə/) is most definitely not /ɜː/ (or the rhotic version) or as in "nurse, turtle, person, her ..."

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    "That's not always true. For instance, the stress is on schwa syllables in turtle, concerning, and murderer."

    We must use a different definition for "schwa". In your three examples, the stress is on a short u, a short e, and a short u, respectively. Not all short vowels are schwas.
    Sorry. I sit corrected. I should have made clear that I was writing only about standard American, in which the U, E, U are neither long or short in those words. They're not pronounced at all.

    In Britain and parts of the U.S., they are pronounced, but differently, depending on the place and person. For instance, a Briton might say tuhtl, and Brooklynite might say toytl. In standard (boring) American, it's trtl.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    So you are saying that the U in turtle and murderer and the E in concerning are not pronounced at all? On what planet?

  8. Raymott's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Secondary Stress in English

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    In standard (boring) American, it's trtl.
    I don't believe that. What system of phonetics are you using? Can you provide a link? Or perhaps an authority who can back up your claim?

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