The Study of Stress in English
【Abstract】In Western languages, English is the most significant stress factors in a language .For native English-speaking people, the location and severity of stress contrast between the sounds of their knowledge through the hearing to identify the dominant factor of the word, once the speaker grasp the error of stress, it will result in communication barriers. In other words, if the time when you learn English accent did not read the words accurately, and in English it is very difficult to listen to accurate identification. Without using the dictionary in the case, even if the encounter did not know the words, but also the ability of accurate pronunciation is an important part of English literacy. It can be seen to understand that stress of the English language is the basis for learning English.
【Key words】stress word stress sentence stress
【关键字】英语重音 单词重音 句子重音
This article is about stress. Stress is a large topic and despite the fact that it has been extensively studied for a very long time. There remain many areas of disagreement or lack of understanding. To begin with a basic point, it is almost certainly true that in all languages some syllables are in some sense stronger than other syllables; these are syllables that have the potential to be described as stressed. Like many other languages, there are stress in the English words and sentences.
2. Four major types of stress
2.1 Unmarked tonic Stress
The term tonic stress is usually preferred to refer to this kind of stress in
referring, proclaiming, and reporting utterances. Tonic stress is almost always found in a content word in utterance final position. Consider the following, in which the tonic syllable is underlined:
; I'm going.
; I'm going to London.
; I'm going to London for a holiday.
A question does arise as to what happens to the previously tonic assigned
syllables. They still get stressed, however, not as much as the tonic syllable, producing a three level stress for utterances. Then, the following is arrived at.,
where the tonic syllable is further capitalized:
; I'm going to London for HOliday.
One reason to move the tonic stress from its utterance final position is to
assign an emphasis to a content word, which is usually a modal auxiliary, an
intensifier, an adverb, etc. Compare the following examples. The first two examples are adapted from. Roach (1983:144).
a) It was very BOring. (Unmarked)
b) It was VEry boring. (Emphatic)
Some intensifying adverbs and modifiers (or their derivatives) that are emphatic by nature are (Leech & Svartvik, 1.975:135): Indeed, utterly, absolute, terrific, tremendous, awfully, terribly, great, grand, really, definitely, truly, literally, extremely, surely, completely, barely, entirely, very (adverb), very (adjective), quite, too, enough, pretty, far, especially, alone, only, own, -self.
In contrastive contexts, the stress pattern is quite different from the emphatic and non-emphatic stresses in that any lexical item in an utterance can receive the tonic stress provided that the contrastively stressed item can be contrastable in that universe of speech. The contrasted item receives the tonic stress provided that it is contrastive with some lexical element (notion.) in the stimulus utterance. Syllables that are normally stressed in the utterance almost always get the same treatment they do in non-emphatic contexts. Consider the following examples:
a) Do you like this one or THAT one?
b) I like THIS one.
2.4New Information Stress
In a response given to a wh-question, the information supplied, naturally enough, is stressed. The concept of new information is much clearer to us of English in responses to wh-questions than in declarative statements. Therefore, it
is best to start with teaching the stressing of the new information supplied to
questions with a question word:
a) What's your NAME
b) My name's GEORGE.
a) Where are you FROM?
b) I'm from WALES.
The questions given above could also be answered in short form except for the last one, in other words, 'given' information is omitted, not repeated. In
a) What's your name?
b) (My name's) George.
The 'new' information in this response is 'George.' The part referring to his name is given in the question, so it may be omitted.
Regarding the significance of new information declarative statements,Ladefoged (1982:100) states: „In general, new information is more likely to receive a tonic accent than material that has already been mentioned. The topic of a sentence is less likely to receive the tonic accent than the comment that is made on the topic.‟ Furthermore, Bollinger (1968:603) notes that speakers '...depend on st
ress to highlight the most important and informative idea in the sentence.' (the
italics is original). I think, the stressed lexical item is that which carries the information enveloping communicative intent and purpose. The information in the stressed item is the core of the message within the utterance. Therefore, it is
the most important element in the utterance. Consider the following example taken from Dickerson (1989:20, cited in Levis, 1999:45):
a) It sounds like there was some excitement last night.
b) Didn't you hear? There was a torNAdo in the area.
3. Two types of stress
3.1.1The change of stress in the same morphological words
The words keeping the same morphology when there is a change in accents would have a different gender. For example, a word is a noun when the accent is in the first syllable, but it turns to be a verb if the accent changes to the second syllable. Import and INcrease are words belong to this kind. IMply and INcreas are nouns
while imPLY and in CREASE are verbs.
3.1.2Word stress existing in compound word and phases
Word accent also exist in compound words and phases which include the same morphology. For example “‟blackbird” and “black ‟bird” are same morphology
but not the same accents, the former‟s accent lies in the first syllable while the latter lies in the second. The result is that the meaning is different; the former means a special bird which don not need to be black, but the latter means a black bird.
3.1.3The change of stress in phases
There is also the change of the accents in phase .as a result, the words have different meanings. Old Girls are old women and Old girls are old classmates.
Other examples: a Freezing worker (workers who work in a freezing place) a
Freezing WORKER (workers whose face is cole)
3.1.4Nouns stressed when using together with gerunds
Nouns should be stressed when the nouns are used with gerunds together.‟
pples.‟ This sentence can be a answer to the question that „What are They‟re eating A
you doing ,if so ,it must be read as „They are EAting apples.‟ and, the sentence also
can be seen as an answer to „What are those?‟ this time it must be read „They‟re
2.2 Sentence stress
Accents in sentences express emphasis of a part. In English, nouns and adjectives need to be stress, and articles and prepositions do not need to. An example is as follows: The 'chairman may 'resign. The meaning of this sentence is that only the chairman has the possibility to resign, not others, so the word must be stressed is “chairman”
All in all, it is obvious that the stress in very import in English when the speaker wants to express some emotions. English learners need to acquire the usage of the stress .what‟s more, it is necessary to apply the knowledge to the practice. The exact application of stress is the key to learn the English well.