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In
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...

linguistics
, and particularly
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lan ...

phonology
, stress or accent is the relative emphasis or prominence given to a certain
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...

syllable
in a
word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most lang ...

word
or to a certain word in a phrase or
sentence Sentence(s) or The Sentence may refer to: Common uses * Sentence (law), the punishment a judge gives to a defendant found guilty of a crime * Sentence (linguistics), a grammatical unit of language * Sentence (mathematical logic), a formula not cont ...
. That emphasis is typically caused by such properties as increased
loudness In acoustics Acoustics is a branch of physics that deals with the study of mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including topics such as vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is ...
and
vowel length In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
, full articulation of the
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
, and changes in
tone Tone may refer to: Color-related * Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory * Tone, the lightness Lightness is a visual perception of the luminance (L) of an object. It is often judged relative to a similarly lit object. ...
. The terms ''stress'' and ''accent'' are often used synonymously in that context but are sometimes distinguished. For example, when emphasis is produced through pitch alone, it is called ''
pitch accent A pitch-accent language is a language that has word accents in which one syllable in a word or morpheme is more prominent than the others, but the accentuated syllable is indicated by a contrasting pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency ...
'', and when produced through length alone, it is called ''quantitative accent''. When caused by a combination of various intensified properties, it is called ''stress accent'' or ''dynamic accent''; English uses what is called ''variable stress accent''. Since stress can be realised through a wide range of
phonetic Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) an ...

phonetic
properties, such as loudness, vowel length, and pitch (which are also used for other linguistic functions), it is difficult to define stress solely phonetically. The stress placed on
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...

syllable
s within words is called word stress. Some languages have ''fixed stress'', meaning that the stress on virtually any multisyllable word falls on a particular syllable, such as the
penult Penult is a linguistics term for the second to last syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sou ...
imate (e.g.
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
) or the first (e.g.
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
). Other languages, like
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
and
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
, have ''lexical stress'', where the position of stress in a word is not predictable in that way but lexically encoded. Sometimes more than one level of stress, such as ''primary stress'' and ''
secondary stress Secondary stress (or obsolete: secondary accent) is the weaker of two degrees of stress in the pronunciation Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (f ...
'', may be identified. Stress is not necessarily a feature of all languages: some, such as
French
French
and
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...
, are sometimes analyzed as lacking lexical stress entirely. The stress placed on words within sentences is called sentence stress or prosodic stress. That is one of the three components of
prosody Prosody may refer to: * Sanskrit prosody, Prosody (Sanskrit), the study of poetic meters and verse in Sanskrit and one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies * Prosody (Greek), the theory and practice of Greek versification * Prosody (Lati ...
, along with
rhythm Rhythm (from , ''rhythmos'', "any regular motion, " generally means a " marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can ap ...
and intonation. It includes phrasal stress (the default emphasis of certain words within
phrases In everyday speech, a phrase is any group of words, often carrying a special idiomatic meaning; in this sense it is synonymous with expression. In linguistic analysis, a phrase is a group of words (or possibly a single word) that functions as a c ...
or
clause In language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private a ...
s), and contrastive stress (used to highlight an item, a word or part of a word, that is given particular focus).


Phonetic realization

There are various ways in which stress manifests itself in the speech stream, and these depend to some extent on which language is being spoken. Stressed syllables are often louder than non-stressed syllables, and may have a higher or lower
pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves ...
. They may also sometimes be pronounced longer. There are sometimes differences in
place Place may refer to: Geography * Place (United States Census Bureau), defined as any concentration of population ** Census-designated place, a populated area lacking its own municipal government * "Place", a type of street or road name ** Often ...
or
manner of articulation Human vocal tract In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equiva ...

manner of articulation
– in particular, vowels in unstressed syllables may have a more central (or " neutral") articulation, while those in stressed syllables have a more peripheral articulation. Stress may be realized to varying degrees on different words in a sentence; sometimes the difference between the acoustic signals of stressed and unstressed syllables are minimal. These particular distinguishing features of stress, or types of prominence in which particular features are dominant, are sometimes referred to as particular types of accent – ''dynamic accent'' in the case of loudness, ''
pitch accent A pitch-accent language is a language that has word accents in which one syllable in a word or morpheme is more prominent than the others, but the accentuated syllable is indicated by a contrasting pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency ...
'' in the case of pitch (although that term usually has more specialized meanings), ''quantitative accent'' in the case of length, and ''qualitative accent'' in the case of differences in articulation. These can be compared to the various types of accent in music theory. In some contexts, the term ''stress'' or ''stress accent'' is used to mean specifically dynamic accent (or as an antonym to ''pitch accent'' in its various meanings). A prominent syllable or word is said to be ''accented'' or ''tonic''; the latter term does not imply that it carries
phonemic tone Tone is the use of pitch in language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compo ...
. Other syllables or words are said to be ''unaccented'' or ''atonic''. Syllables are frequently said to be in ''pretonic'' or ''post-tonic'' position; certain phonological rules apply specifically to such positions. For instance, in American English, /t/ and /d/ are flapped in post-tonic position. In
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more ...
, which is a
tonal language Tone is the use of pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches tha ...
, stressed syllables have been found to have tones realized with a relatively large swing in
fundamental frequency The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental, is defined as the lowest frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time A unit of time is any particular time Time is th ...
, while unstressed syllables typically have smaller swings. (See also
Stress in Standard Chinese This article summarizes the phonology (the sound system, or in more general terms, the pronunciation) of Standard Chinese (Standard Mandarin). Standard Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin. Actual production varies ...
.) Stressed syllables are often perceived as being more forceful than non-stressed syllables.


Word stress

Word stress, or sometimes lexical stress, is the stress placed on a given syllable in a word. The position of word stress in a word may depend on certain general rules applicable in the language or
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
in question, but in other languages, it must be learned for each word, as it is largely unpredictable. In some cases, classes of words in a language differ in their stress properties; for example,
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
s into a language with ''fixed'' stress may preserve stress placement from the source language, or the special pattern for Turkish placenames.


Non-phonemic stress

In some languages, the placement of stress can be determined by rules. It is thus not a phonemic property of the word, because it can always be predicted by applying the rules. Languages in which the position of the stress can usually be predicted by a simple rule are said to have ''fixed stress''. For example, in
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
,
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
,
Icelandic Icelandic refers to anything of, from, or related to Iceland and may refer to: *Icelandic people *Icelandic language *Icelandic alphabet *Icelandic cuisine See also

* Icelander (disambiguation) * Icelandic Airlines, a predecessor of Icelandai ...
and
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
, the stress almost always comes on the first syllable of a word. In
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
the stress is on the last syllable of a word. In
Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes, derived from a common ancestral language **Sou ...
,
Esperanto Esperanto ( or ) is the world's most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a meant for communication between people from different nations ...
, and
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
, the stress is almost always on the
penult Penult is a linguistics term for the second to last syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sou ...
(second-last syllable). In
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
, it is on the
antepenult In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the metho ...
(third-last syllable). Other languages have stress placed on different syllables but in a predictable way, as in
Classical Arabic Classical Arabic ( ar, links=no, ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلْفُصْحَىٰ, al-ʿarabīyah al-fuṣḥā) or Quranic Arabic is the standardized literary form of the Arabic language Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, ...
and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, where stress is conditioned by the
structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. ...
of particular syllables. They are said to have a regular stress rule. Statements about the position of stress are sometimes affected by the fact that when a word is spoken in isolation, prosodic factors (see below) come into play, which do not apply when the word is spoken normally within a sentence. French words are sometimes said to be stressed on the final syllable, but that can be attributed to the
prosodic stress In linguistics, and particularly phonology, stress or accent is the relative emphasis or prominence given to a certain syllable in a word or to a certain word in a phrase or Sentence (linguistics), sentence. That emphasis is typically caused by ...
that is placed on the last syllable (unless it is a
schwa In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as t ...
, when stress is placed on the second-last syllable) of any string of words in that language. Thus, it is on the last syllable of a word analyzed in isolation. The situation is similar in Standard Chinese. French (some authors add Chinese) can be considered to have no real lexical stress.


Phonemic stress

Languages in which the position of stress in a word is not fully predictable are said to have ''phonemic stress''. For example,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
,
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
,
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
. Stress is usually truly lexical and must be memorized as part of the pronunciation of an individual word. In some languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese,
LakotaLakota may refer to: * Lakota people, a confederation of seven related Native American tribes *Lakota language Lakota (), also referred to as Lakhota, Teton or Teton Sioux, is a Siouan language spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux tribes. T ...
and, to some extent, Italian, stress is even represented in writing using diacritical marks, for example in the Spanish words and . Sometimes, stress is fixed for all forms of a particular word, or it can fall on different syllables in different inflections of the same word. In such languages with phonemic stress, the position of stress can serve to distinguish otherwise identical words. For example, the English words ''insight'' () and ''incite'' () are distinguished in pronunciation only by the fact that the stress falls on the first syllable in the former and on the second syllable in the latter. Examples from other languages include
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
( "to rewrite" vs. "to paraphrase"); and
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
( "anchor" vs. "more, still, yet, again"). In many languages with lexical stress, it is connected with alternations in vowels and/or consonants, which means that vowel quality differs by whether vowels are stressed or unstressed. There may also be limitations on certain phonemes in the language in which stress determines whether they are allowed to occur in a particular syllable or not. That is the case with most examples in English and occurs systematically in Russian, such as (, "castle") vs. (, "lock"); and
in Portuguese IN, In or in may refer to: Places * India (country code IN) * Indiana, United States (postal code IN) * Ingolstadt, Germany (license plate code IN) Businesses and organizations * Independent Network, a UK-based political association * Indiana ...
, such as the triplet (, "wise woman"), (, "knew"), (, "thrush"). Dialects of the same language may have different stress placement. For instance, the English word ''laboratory'' is stressed on the second syllable in
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a populatio ...
(''labóratory'' often pronounced "labóratry", the second ''o'' being silent), but the first syllable in
American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English is the m ...
, with a secondary stress on the "tor' syllable (''láboratory'' often pronounced "lábratory"). The Spanish word is stressed on the first syllable in Spain () but on the second syllable in the Americas (). The Portuguese words for
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
and the continent
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
are stressed on the third syllable in
European Portuguese European Portuguese ( pt, português europeu, ), also known as Portuguese of Portugal (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portugues ...
( and ), but on the fourth syllable in
Brazilian Portuguese Brazilian Portuguese (', or ', ) is the set of dialects of the Portuguese language native to Brazil and the most influential form of Portuguese worldwide. It is spoken by almost all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and spoken widely acr ...
( and ).


Compounds

With very few exceptions, English
compound words In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
are stressed on their first component. And even such exceptions, for example ''mankínd'', are instead often stressed on the first component by some people or in some kinds of English. Sometimes the same components as those of a compound word are used in a descriptive phrase with a different meaning and with stress on both words, but that descriptive phrase is then not usually considered a compound: ''bláck bírd'' (any bird that is black) and ''bláckbird'' (a ) and ''páper bág'' (a bag made of paper) and ''páper bag'' (very rarely used to mean a bag for carrying newspapers but is often also used to mean a bag made of paper).


Levels of stress

Some languages are described as having both ''primary stress'' and ''secondary stress''. A syllable with secondary stress is stressed relative to unstressed syllables but not as strongly as a syllable with primary stress. As with primary stress, the position of secondary stress may be more or less predictable depending on language. In English, it is not fully predictable, but the different secondary stress of the words ''organization'' and ''accumulation'' (on the first and second syllable, respectively) is predictable due to the same stress of the verbs ''órganize'' and ''accúmulate''. In some analyses, for example the one found in Chomsky and Halle's ''
The Sound Pattern of English#REDIRECT The Sound Pattern of English {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
'', English has been described as having four levels of stress: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary, but the treatments often disagree with one another.
Peter Ladefoged Peter Nielsen Ladefoged ( , ; 17 September 1925 – 24 January 2006) was a British linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken ...
and other phoneticians have noted that it is possible to describe English with only one degree of stress, as long as prosody is recognized and unstressed syllables are phonemically distinguished for
vowel reduction In phonetics, vowel reduction is any of various changes in the acoustic ''quality'' of vowels as a result of changes in stress (linguistics), stress, sonority hierarchy, sonority, vowel length, duration, loudness, articulation, or position in the ...
.Ladefoged (1975 ''etc.'') '' A course in phonetics'' § 5.4; (1980) ''Preliminaries to linguistic phonetics'' p 83 They find that the multiple levels posited for English, whether ''primary–secondary'' or ''primary–secondary–tertiary'', are not
phonetic Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) an ...
stress (let alone
phonemic In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any partic ...
), and that the supposed secondary/tertiary stress is not characterized by the increase in respiratory activity associated with primary/secondary stress in English and other languages. (For further detail see
Stress and vowel reduction in English Stress is a prominent feature of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leadi ...
.)


Prosodic stress

''
Prosodic In linguistics, prosody () is concerned with those elements of speech that are not individual phonetic segment (linguistics), segments (vowels and consonants) but are properties of syllables and larger units of speech, including linguistic functio ...
stress'', or ''sentence stress'', refers to stress patterns that apply at a higher level than the individual word – namely within a
prosodic unit In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...
. It may involve a certain natural stress pattern characteristic of a given language, but may also involve the placing of emphasis on particular words because of their relative importance (contrastive stress). An example of a natural prosodic stress pattern is that described for above; stress is placed on the final syllable of a string of words (or if that is a
schwa In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as t ...
, the next-to-final syllable). A similar pattern is found in English (see above): the traditional distinction between (lexical) primary and secondary stress is replaced partly by a prosodic rule stating that the final stressed syllable in a phrase is given additional stress. (A word spoken alone becomes such a phrase, hence such prosodic stress may appear to be lexical if the pronunciation of words is analyzed in a standalone context rather than within phrases.) Another type of prosodic stress pattern is ''quantity sensitivity'' – in some languages additional stress tends to be placed on syllables that are longer ( moraically heavy). Prosodic stress is also often used pragmatically to emphasize (focus attention on) particular words or the ideas associated with them. Doing this can change or clarify the meaning of a sentence; for example: As in the examples above, stress is normally transcribed as
italics In typography, italic type is a cursive font based on a stylised form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, italics normally slant slightly to the right. Italics are a way to emphasise key points in a printed tex ...
in printed text or underlining in handwriting. In English, stress is most dramatically realized on focused or accented words. For instance, consider the dialogue In it, the stress-related acoustic differences between the syllables of "tomorrow" would be small compared to the differences between the syllables of "''dinner''", the emphasized word. In these emphasized words, stressed syllables such as "''din''" in "''din''ner" are louder and longer. They may also have a different fundamental frequency, or other properties. The main stress within a sentence, often found on the last stressed word, is called the ''nuclear stress''.


Stress and vowel reduction

In many languages, such as
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
and
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
,
vowel reduction In phonetics, vowel reduction is any of various changes in the acoustic ''quality'' of vowels as a result of changes in stress (linguistics), stress, sonority hierarchy, sonority, vowel length, duration, loudness, articulation, or position in the ...
may occur when a vowel changes from a stressed to an unstressed position. In English, unstressed vowels may reduce to
schwa In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as t ...
-like vowels, though the details vary with dialect (see
Stress and vowel reduction in English Stress is a prominent feature of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leadi ...
). The effect may be dependent on lexical stress (for example, the unstressed first syllable of the word ''photographer'' contains a schwa , whereas the stressed first syllable of ''photograph'' does not ), or on prosodic stress (for example, the word ''of'' is pronounced with a schwa when it is unstressed within a sentence, but not when it is stressed). Many other languages, such as
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
and the mainstream dialects of
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, do not have unstressed vowel reduction; in these languages vowels in unstressed syllables have nearly the same quality as those in stressed syllables.


Stress and rhythm

Some languages, such as
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
, are said to be ''stress-timed languages''; that is, stressed syllables appear at a roughly constant rate and non-stressed syllables are shortened to accommodate that, which contrasts with languages that have ''syllable timing'' (e.g.
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
) or ''
mora Mora may refer to: Places * Doctor Mora, city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato * Mora (Cordillera), Bolivia * Mora, Cameroon, a town * Mora (canton), Costa Rica * Mora, Cyprus, a village * Mora, Maharashtra, India, a port near Mumbai * Mora, Port ...
timing'' (e.g.
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...

Japanese
), whose syllables or moras are spoken at a roughly constant rate regardless of stress. For details, see
Isochrony Isochrony is the postulated rhythm Rhythm (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
.


Historical effects

It is common for stressed and unstressed syllables to behave differently as a language evolves. For example, in the
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
, the original Latin
short vowels In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived length of a vowel sound: the corresponding physical measurement is length (phonetics), duration. In some languages vowel length is an important phonemic factor, meaning vowel length can change the mea ...
and have often become
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
s when stressed. Since stress takes part in
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
conjugation, that has produced verbs with vowel alternation in the Romance languages. For example, the
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
verb (to return, come back) has the form in the past tense but in the present tense (see Spanish irregular verbs).
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
shows the same phenomenon but with alternating with instead. That behavior is not confined to verbs; note for example Spanish "wind" from Latin , or Italian "fire" from Latin .


Stress "deafness"

An operational definition of word stress may be provided by the stress "deafness" paradigm. The idea is that if listeners perform poorly on reproducing the presentation order of series of stimuli that minimally differ in the position of phonetic prominence (e.g. úmi umí, the language does not have word stress. The task involves a reproduction of the order of stimuli as a sequence of key strokes, whereby key "1" is associated with one stress location (e.g. [númi]) and key "2" with the other (e.g. umí. A trial may be from 2 to 6 stimuli in length. Thus, the order [númi-númi-numí-númi] is to be reproduced as "1121". It was found that listeners whose native language was French performed significantly worse than Spanish listeners in reproducing the stress patterns by key strokes. The explanation is that Spanish has lexically contrastive stress, as evidenced by the minimal pairs like ("mole") and ("[he/she/it] met"), while in French, stress does not convey lexical information and there is no equivalent of stress minimal pairs as in Spanish. An important case of stress "deafness" relates to Persian. The language has generally been described as having contrastive word stress or accent as evidenced by numerous stem and stem-clitic minimal pairs such as /mɒhi/ [mɒ.hí] ("fish") and /mɒh-i/ [mɒ́.hi] ("some month"). The authors argue that the reason that Persian listeners are stress "deaf" is that their accent locations arise postlexically. Persian thus lacks stress in the strict sense.


Spelling and notation for stress

The orthography, orthographies of some languages include devices for indicating the position of lexical stress. Some examples are listed below: * In Greek language, Modern Greek, all polysyllables are written with an acute accent () over the vowel of the stressed syllable. (The acute accent is also used on some monosyllables in order to distinguish homographs, as in ('the') and ('or'); here the stress of the two words is the same.) * In Spanish language, Spanish orthography, stress may be written explicitly with a single acute accent on a vowel. Stressed antepenultimate syllables are always written with that accent mark, as in . If the last syllable is stressed, the accent mark is used if the word ends in the letters ''n'', ''s'', or a vowel, as in . If the penultimate syllable is stressed, the accent is used if the word ends in any other letter, as in . That is, if a word is written without an accent mark, the stress is on the penult if the last letter is a vowel, ''n'', or ''s'', but on the final syllable if the word ends in any other letter. However, as in Greek, the acute accent is also used for some words to distinguish various syntactical uses (e.g. 'tea' vs. a form of the pronoun 'you'; 'where' as a pronoun or ''wh''-complement, 'where' as an adverb). * In
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
, Portuguese language#Stress, stress is sometimes indicated explicitly with an acute accent (for ''i'', ''u'', and open ''a'', ''e'', ''o''), or circumflex (for close ''a'', ''e'', ''o''). The orthography has an Portuguese orthography#Diacritics, extensive set of rules that describe the placement of diacritics, based on the position of the stressed syllable and the surrounding letters. * In
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
, the grave accent is needed in words ending with an accented vowel, e.g. , 'city', and in some monosyllabic words that might otherwise be confused with other words, like ('there') and ('the'). It is optional for it to be written on any vowel if there is a possibility of misunderstanding, such as ('condominiums') and ('joint owners'). (In this particular case, a frequent one in which diacritics present themselves, the difference of accents is caused by the fall of the second "i" from Latin in Italian, typical of the genitive, in the first noun (con/domìnìi/, meaning "of the owner"); while the second was derived from the nominative (con/dòmini/, meaning simply "owners"). Though not part of normal orthography, a number of devices exist that are used by linguists and others to indicate the position of stress (and syllabification in some cases) when it is desirable to do so. Some of these are listed here. * Most commonly, the stress mark is placed before the beginning of the stressed syllable, where a syllable is definable. However, it is occasionally placed immediately before the vowel. In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), primary stress is indicated by a high vertical line (primary stress mark: ) before the stressed element, secondary stress by a low vertical line (secondary stress mark: ). For example, or . Extra stress can be indicated by doubling the symbol: . * Linguists frequently mark primary stress with an acute accent over the vowel, and secondary stress by a grave accent. Example: or . That has the advantage of not requiring a decision about syllable boundaries. * In English dictionaries that show pronunciation by respelling, stress is typically marked with a Prime (symbol), prime mark placed after the stressed syllable: /si-lab′-ə-fi-kay′-shən/. * In pronunciation guides, stress is often indicated using a combination of bold text and capital letters. For example, si-lab-if-i-KAY-shun or si-LAB-if-i-KAY-shun * In
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
, Belarusian language, Belarusian, and Ukrainian language, Ukrainian dictionaries, stress is indicated with marks called (, 'stress marks'). Primary stress is indicated with an acute accent (´) on a syllable's vowel (example: ). Secondary stress may be unmarked or marked with a grave accent: . If the acute accent sign is unavailable for technical reasons, stress can be marked by making the vowel capitalized or italic. In general texts, stress marks are rare, typically used either when required for disambiguation of homographs (compare 'in great quantities', and 'in great quantities'), or in rare words and names that are likely to be mispronounced. Materials for foreign learners may have stress marks throughout the text. * In Dutch language, Dutch, indication of stress is usually marked by an acute accent on the vowel (or, in the case of a
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
or double vowel, the first two vowels) of the stressed syllable. Compare ('deterioration') and ('rear exit'). * In Biblical Hebrew, a complex system of Hebrew cantillation, cantillation marks is used to mark stress, as well as verse syntax and the melody according to which the verse is chanted in ceremonial Bible reading. In Modern Hebrew, there is no standardized way to mark the stress. Most often, the cantillation mark (part of ), which looks like a left-pointing arrow above the consonant of the stressed syllable, for example ('morning') as opposed to ('cowboy'). That mark is usually used in books by the Academy of the Hebrew Language and is available on the standard Hebrew keyboard at AltGr-6. In some books, other marks, such as , are used.


See also

* Accent (poetry) * Accent (music) * Foot (prosody) * Initial-stress-derived noun * Pitch accent (intonation) * Rhythm * Syllable weight


References


External links


"Feet and Metrical Stress"
''The Cambridge Handbook of Phonology''

''Linguapress''
''Word Stress Rules: A Guide to Word and Sentence Stress Rules for English Learners and Teachers''
based on affixation {{Nonverbal communication Stress (linguistics), Phonetics Phonology Poetic rhythm ar:نبر