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WORD STRESS. THE NATURE OF ENGLISH WORD STRESS

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Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

The phonetic structure of a word comprises not only the sounds that the word is composed of and not only the syllabic structure that these sounds form it also has a definite stress pattern. The auditory impression of stress is that of prominence. There may be one prominent syllable in a word as compared to the restof the syllables...

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2015-09-14

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WORD STRESS

THE NATURE OF ENGLISH WORD STRESS

    A word, as a meaningful language unit, has a definite phonetic structure. The phonetic structure of a word comprises not only the sounds that the word is composed of and not only the syllabic structure that these sounds form, it also has a definite stress pattern. 

    The auditory impression of stress is that of prominence. And if a word
contains more than one syllable, the relative prominence of those syllables
differs. There may be one prominent syllable in a word as compared to the rest
of the syllables of the same word (as in "important"), there may be two
equally prominent syllables (as in "misbehave")
, two unequally prominent syl-
lables (as in "e
,xami’nation") or more prominent syllables (as in ' unreliability"
And this correlation of degrees of prominence of the syllables in a word forms
the stress pattern of the word, which is often called the accentual structure of a word.
 

     The stress patterns of different words may coincide. Thus the words "mother", "table", "happy", "after" have an identical stress pattern i though their sound structures have nothing in common.

     The stress pattern of these words differs from that of "analyse", "prominent", "syllable", "character", which is Monosyllabic words have no stress pattern, because there can be established no correlation of prominence within it. Yet as lexical units monosyllables are regarded as stressed. The stress patterns of words are generally perceived without difficulty. People easily distinguish between "subject" and "subject".

    Actual speech does not consist of isolated words. And the stress pattern of a word is deduced from how the word is accented in connected speech. On the other hand, the stress pattern of a word is only its potential pattern in an utterance. Though English words generally retain their stress patterns in connected speech, there occur numerous instances when the stress pattern, of a word is altered. 

     Cf. 'unhappy - He was ٰso unٰhappy. He ٰremembered those ٰunhappy ٰdays. 

     Thus, word stress may be said to be a word—level concept, which should not be confused with utterance stress. Word stress be tangs to the word when said   in  isolation. Whereas utterance stress belongs to the utterance. 

     The placement of utterance stress is primarily conditioned by the situational and linguistic context. It is also conditioned by subjective factors: by the speaker's intention to bring out words which are considered by him to be semantically important in the situational context. As for the stress pattern of a word, it is conditioned only by objective factors:  pronunciation tendencies and the orthoepic norm. One cannot distort the stress pattern of a word on one's own, because such a distortion will make speech unintelligible.

As stated above, the auditory impression of stress is that of prominence. So a stressed    syllable on the auditory level is a syllable that has special prominence. The effect of prominence may be produced by a greater degree of loudness, greater length of the stressed syllable, some modifications in its pitch and quality.

   Acoustic analysis shows that the perception of prominence may be due to definite variations of the following acoustic parameters: intensity, duration, frequency, formant structure. All these parameters generally interact to produce the effect of prominence.

   In different languages stress may be achieved by various combinations of these parameters. Depending upon which parameter is the principal one in producing the effect of stress, word stress in languages may be of different types.

   There are languages with dynamic word stress. Stress in such languages is mainly achieved by a greater force of articulation which results in greater loudness, on the auditory level, and greater intensity on the acoustic level. The stressed syllables are louder than the unstressed ones. All the other parameters play a less important role in producing the effect of stress in such languages.

    In languages with musical word stress prominence is mainly achieved by variations in pitch level, the main acoustic parameter being fundamental frequency. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese are languages with musical word stress (or tonic word stress). The meaning of the words in those languages depends on the pitch levels of their syllables.

   Swedish word stress is characterized as dynamic and musical, because both loudness and pitch variations are relevant factors in producing prominence. For instance, the Swedish word "Anden" with falls in pitch on both syllables means "soul", but when pronounced with a fall in pitch on the first syllable and tow pitch on, the second syllable means "duck".

In languages with quantitative word stress the effect of stress is mainly based on the quantity of the sound, i.e. its duration. In such languages vowels in the stressed syllables are always longer than vowels in unstressed syllables. Russian word stress is considered to be mainly quantitative though it has been proved that duration is not the only parameter that produces the effect of stress in Russian.

   Besides those types of word stress, linguists distinguish qualitative word stresses in many languages the quality of vowels in stressed syllables is unobscured and consequently differs greatly from the quality of vowels in unstressed syllables. 

   What type of word stress is English word stress? What is its acoustic nature?

   Until recently, English word stress was considered to be dynamic, as stress was generally correlated with loudness. But numerous investigations of the acoustic nature of English word stress have made it clear that stress in English does not depend on intensity alone, and that English word stress is of a complex nature. 

   Thus, D. Fry synthesized pairs of words (such as "object—object") .on monotones, and varied the relative durations and intensities of the two vowels. His experiment showed that as long as duration and intensity were increased together, reinforcing each other, there was agreement on which of the syllables was the most prominent one; but, when increased separately, duration appeared to be more important than intensity.

   D. Bolinger's experiments have .shown that pitch movement in English is also one of the most important cues' for prominence. But it is not the pitch direction that is significant in English, it is the pitch contrast that really matters. In other words, variations in the pitch direction will not change the meaning of a word. For example, "abstract″, ″abstract″, "abstract" remain to be one and the same word. But a relatively wide departure from a monotone level is always perceived as a change in the degree of prominence. 

   A. Gimson notes that if a synthesized nonsense word /ilplel9e/ is presented to English listeners, with no pitch, intensity or length variations but with vowels of different quality, the vowels which are the most sonorous (i.e. the most open vowels), will be judged most prominent. In this nonsense word /ס/   and /æ/ are usually judged as the points of greatest prominence.  This shows what an important role the inherent quality of a vowel plays in producing the effect of prominence.       

   Thus, as far as English word stress is concerned, relative prominence in the listener's mind is created by an interaction of four acoustic parameters: intensity, fundamental frequency, duration and formant structure. The peculiarity of this interaction, still remains a controversial problem and a very complicated one. What complicates the matter is that in English a vowel in an unstressed syllable may be non—reduced and longer than in a stressed syllable (as in "pillow", "compound"). Vowels differ in their intensity as well; for example,
the intensity of
/i/ is much lower than that of /a:/ or /o:/. Besides that, the
quantity of English vowels also differs: in identical phonetic environment an
open vowel is longer than a close vowel. It is a universal rule for most languages (/a: >o:>3:>u:>i:>æ>
ס > e > ΰ > i/). Moreover, a vowel following a lenis voiced consonant tends to have lower pitch than one which follows a fortis voiceless consonant(cf. "dear" "tear", "bee" "tea").Yet an Englishman easily distinguishes a stressed syllable from among the unstressed despite the diversity in the acoustic characteristics of stressed syllables. 

   Therefore stress in English manifests itself in various ways, either the intensity, or duration of the stressed syllable may increase, or the spectrum of the stressed vowel may be sharpened, or the fundamental frequency may show a distinct rise (or fall). There may also be a combination of any of these parameters (see Fig.9). As for Russian word stress, it is considered to be primarily quantitative (because in Russian a stressed syllable is about 1.5 times longer than an unstressed syllable)   and, secondarily,   it   is qualitative and dynamic.  

LINGUISTICALLY RELEVANT DEGREES OF WORD STRESS

   One of the main questions for the linguist is to determine the number of contrastive degrees of word stress in a language. How many contrastive degrees of word stress exist in English?

   How many degrees of word stress are linguistically relevant in English?                             

    Instrumental investigations show that a polysyllabic word has as many degrees of prominence as there are syllables in it. D. Jones has indicated the degrees of prominence in the word "opportunity". The most prominent syllable is denoted by figure 1, the second degree of prominence by figure 2, and so on.

              2 4 1 5 3    

              pətju:niti 

   But not all these degrees of prominence are linguistically relevant. The problem is to determine which of these degrees are linguistically relevant.

    There are two views of the matter. Some (e.g. D. Jones, R. Kingdon , V. Vassilyev [110]) consider that there are three degrees of word stress in English: primary (or strong stress), secondary (or partial stress) and weak (the so—called "unstressed" syllables have weak stress). Secondary stress is chiefly needed to define the stress pattern of words containing four or more syllables, and compound words. 

    E.g. "e,xami’nation", ",qualifi’cation", '’hair—,dresser". All these degrees of stress are linguistically relevant as there are words in English the meanings of which depend upon the occurrence of either of the three degrees in their stress patterns. 

    E.g. "’import— im’port", ",certifi’cation cer,tifi’cation". But auditory analysis shows that there are certain positions in the stress patterns of English words where the vowel generally remains unobscured and its duration is considerable, though the syllable it occurs in does not actually bear primary or secondary stress. This can be clearly seen in verbs ending in "-ate", "-ize", "-y" (e.g. "elevate", "recognize", "occupy") and in such words as "portray", "canteen", "austere". Besides, this can also be observed in GA nouns ending in "-ary", "-ory", "-ony" (e.g;, "dictionary", "territory", "ceremony") On this account some American linguists (G.Tragef , A.Hill) distinguish four degrees of word stress: 

     primary stress I' I (as in "cupboard"),. 

     secondary stress / ^/ (as in "discrimination"),.  

     tertiary stress/ ٰ/ (as in "analyse"), 

     weak stress / ˇ/ (as in "cupboard", but very often the weakly stressed syllable is left unmarked). 

    American phoneticians consider that secondary stress generally occurs before the primary stress (as in "examination"), while tertiary stress occurs after the primary stress (as in "handbook", "specialize"). Though the second view seems to be more exact, the distinction between secondary and tertiary degrees of stress is too subtle to be noticed by an untrained ear. Linguistically, tertiary word stress can be taken for a variant of secondary word stress, as there are no words in English the meanings of which depend on whether their stress pattern is characterized by either secondary or tertiary stress. That is why the stress pattern of English words may be /defined as a correlation of three degrees of stress.

THE STRESS PATTERNS OF ENGLISH WORDS

    There are languages in which stress always falls on the first  syllable (as in Czech and Finnish), or on the last syllable (as in French and Turkish). Word stress in such languages is said, to be fixed. The stress patterns of the   bulk of_ English words are regular and Stable. Yet English  word   stress is said to be free. It is free in the sense that stress is not fixed to   any particular syllable in all the words of the language.     

    Though word stress in English is called free, there are certain  tendenciesin English which to a certain extent regulate the accentuation of  words. The linguists who have made a thorough analysis of English stress patterns have agreed upon the existence of two main accentuation tendencies in English: the recessive tendency and the rhythmic   tendency.

    According to the recessive tendency, stress falls on the first syllable which is generally the root syllable {e.g. "mother", "father", "sister", "brpther" , "ready", "window") or on the second syllable in words which have a prefix of no special meaning (e.g., "become", indeed, forgive, behind")... The recessive tendency in stressing words is characteristic of words of Anglo—Saxon origin, but the tendency has also influenced many      borrowings (e.g. "excellent, garage").

   In present—day English 74% of words containing two syllables have the

stress  pattern _,_, and 26% have the pattern _ _,_ . In words of three syllables

55% have the stress pattern ,_ _ _, whereas only 39% have the pattern  j and 6% have the pattern j In the English language a considerable part of the vocabulary consists of monosyllabic words, some of which are stressed, others not. This created the rhythmic tendency to alternate stressed and unstressed syllables; According to the rhythmic tendency, stress is on the 3rd syllable from theend'intensity", possibility"). It is the usual way of stressing four—syllabled words (e.g. "political, democracy, identify, comparison"). 36% of words of four syllables have the pat
tern
 j, 33% have the pattern M, 29% have the pattern L, and in 2% the stress falls on the last syllable.

          In rapid colloquial speech the two tendencies very often coincide as one of the vowels is elided (e.g. "terit(o)ry, diction (a) ry,'lit(e) rature,'temp(e) ra-ture").

The rhythmic tendency remains a strong one and it affects the stress patterns of a large number of words in modern English. Thus, in some polysyllabic words there is a tendency nowadays to avoid a succession of weak syllables, especially if these have / e/ or / i /. As a result, there appears a stress shift with a rhythmic alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. This tendency is clearly evident in the new pronunciation of the following words;

'exquisite     _, _ _ or ex’quisite _, _

       The new variants of pronunciation of these words and many more English words have been accepted and included in Everyman's English Pronouncing Dictionary by D. Jones as either second or even first variants of pronunciation,,

It has also been noticed that the stress of the parent word is often
retained in the derivatives.
 Cf. 'personal ,perso'nality, nation nationality,  

      This regularity is sometimes called the retentive tendency in English.

There is one more tendency in English:' the tendency to stress the most important elements in words. Such meaningful prominence is given to negative prefixes "un—", "in—", "mis—" (e.g. "unknown", "inartistic", "misbehave") , such prefixes as "ex—", "vice—", "sub—", "under—", (e.g. "ex—president' "vice—president", "sub—editor", "under—mine"), suffix "—teen" (e.g. "thirteen", "fourteen"), semantically important elements in compound words (e.g. "Well— known", "red—hot", "bad—tempered"). These are the tendencies that to some extent regulate the placement of stress in English words and condition their stress patterns.

THE FUNCTIONS OF WORD STRESS.

    Word stress has a constitutive function, as it moulds syllables into a word by forming its stress pattern. Without a definite stress pattern a word ceases to be a word and becomes a sequence of syllables.

Word stress has a distinctive function in English, because there exist different words in English with analogous sound structure which are differentiated in speech only by their stress patterns. E.g.,

          N o u n /Adjective Verb

'insult in’sult

'abstract ,ab’stract or ‘abstract

'accent or ‘accent ,ac’cent     or   ‘accent

 

     Is it the different degrees of stress or rather the stress patterns that distinguish one word from another? There exist different views of the problem. Some linguists (G. Trager, A. Hill) regard degrees of word stress as phonological units, which can distinguish words. They consider degrees of word stress to be separate phonemes. Alongside the generally accepted phonemes they have introduced into the phonemic' inventory 4 stress phonemes: primary (or loud), secondary (or reduced loud), tertiary {or medial) and weak stress phonemes. But it may be argued that degrees of stress can be treated as phonemes, because they are not segments into which speech may be divided. Degrees of stress are superimposed on syllables just as other prosodic phenomena. V. Vassilyev states that in minimal pairs as "’import" "im'poft" primary stress and weak stress form phonological oppositions (primary stress vs. weak stress). The distinction in the meaning of the words "certification-certification", according to V. Vassilyev, is based on the phonological opposition of secondary stress vs. weak stress. On this account he treats the degrees of stress as phonological units, which he calls "accentemes". He distinguishes three word accentemes in English: primary accenteme, secondary accenteme, weak accenteme. Accentemes differ from phonemes, because accentemes are prosodic phonological units.

    Another view is expressed by G. Torsuyev, H. Kurath, A. Gimson and others. They think that it is the stress patterns of words that contrast with each other rather than degrees of stress. This viewpoint appears to be well—grounded. It is evident that degrees of stress can be perceived only in stress patterns as relatively strong, medium or weak stress, i.e. one syllable has stronger stress than any other, another syllable is less strong but stronger than the weak ones. Moreover, in one stress pattern secondary stress may be stronger than primary stress in another stress pattern.

EMPHASIS

General Remarks

   L. E. Armstrong and I. C. Ward have aptly defined emphasis "as an all-round special increase of effort on the part of the speaker". This "increase of' effort" may. manifest itself in several ways: (1) in a more energetic articulation of sounds; (2) in the use of the strong forms of words instead of the weak forms; (3) in an increase of sentence-stress; (4) in various pitch-patterns. Emphasis may be of different degrees. A slight intensification of meaning may be produced by some of the methods used in the sphere of sentence-stress: but in more emphatic forms of speech special modifications of melody are involved. In this chapter only those features of emphatic speech will be analysed that are connected with pitch variations. The following are some examples of pitch variations.

  1.  Using a falling instead of a rising tune.
  2.  Breaking the descending scale of a syntagm.
  3.  Widening or narrowing the range of intonation in a syntagm.
  4.  Using the high   falling pitch-pattern and its modifications.
  5.  Using the fall rising pitch-pattern and its modifications. 

ACCENT

   If a syllable is made specially prominent, it is said to be stressed, or accented. Stress, or accent is defined differently by different authors. B. A. Bogoroditsky, for instance, defined stress as an increase and decrease of energy, accompanied by an increase and a decrease of expiratory and articulatory activity. D. Jones defined stress as the degree of force, which is accompanied by a strong force of exhalation and gives an impression of loudness. H. Sweet also stated that stress is connected with the force of breath. Later, however, D. Jones wrote, that "stress or prominence is effected ... by inherent sonority, vowel and consonant length and by intonation." x A. C. Gimson also admits that a more prominent syllable is accompanied by the changes in the pitch of the voice, quality and quantity of the accented sounds. If we compare stressed and unstressed syllables in the words contract /'kontrækt/ договор, to contract /te k n'trækt/ заключать договор, we may note, that in the stressed syllable:

  1.  the force of utterance is greater, which is connected with more energetic articulation;
  2.  the pitch of the voice is higher, which is connected with stronger tenseness of the vocal cords and the walls of the resonance chambers;

(c).the quantity of the vowel /æ/ in /k n'trækt/ is greater, the vowel becomes longer;

(d) the quality of the vowel /æ/ in the stressed syllable is different from the quality of this vowel in the unstressed position, in which it is more narrow, than /'æ/. 

    Word accent can be defined as the singling out of one or more syllables in a word, which is accompanied by the change of the force of utterance, pitch of the voice, qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the sound, which is usually a vow In different languages one of the factors constituting word accent is usually more significant than the others, it is said to be phonologically relevant. According to the most important feature of word accent different types of word stress are distinguished in different languages.

  1.  If special prominence in an accented syllable or syllables is achieved mainly through the intensity of articulation, such type of stress is called dynamic, or force stress. It is observed in the English and Russian languages (other features of accent are present but irrelevant).
  2.  If special prominence in an accented syllable is achieved mainly through the change of pitch, or musical tone, such accent is called musical, or tonic. It is characteristic of the Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other oriental languages.
  3.  Languages with the quantitative type of accent are very rare.
  4.  Qualitative changes alone do not form an independent phonemically distinctive feature.

    From the point of view of the position of stress in words and their grammatical forms, accent can be characterized as free (or shifting) and fixed.

   In the English and Russian languages word accent is free, that is stress may fall on the first syllable: 'mother, мама; it may fall on the second syllable: ig'nore, экзамен; it may fall on the final syllable: consideration, пароход. Stress in the English and Russian languages is not only free, but at the same time it is also shifting, that is it may shift from one syllable to another in different parts of speech, or in different forms of one and the same word: ig'nore 'ignorant, руки р$ки. Shifting of word stress, may perform semantic function: (a) it distinguishes words seman-tieally: муки мука; (b) it may also serve to differentiate grammatical forms of words домадома.

   Languages with fixed stress are, for example, the Lettish language where stress falls on the first syllable, e.g. galva голова, Istaba комната, tafeleклассная доска; the Polish, where stress falls on the prefinal syllable, e.g. domdwy, narodowy.

   Strictly speaking, a polysyllabic word has as many degrees of stress as there are syllables  in  it.  American   and English phoneticians give the following pattern of stress distribution in the word examination. They mark the strongest syllable, with primary accent with the numeral 1, then goes 2, 3, etc. It is more convenient and/vivid to represent this pattern of stress distribution in the following way

  The number of lines corresponds to the number of syllables in a word. The primary strongest stress mark is placed on the highest line, the second strongest one is placed on the second line, the other stress marks are distributed on the appropriate lines according to accentual sonority. The vertical lines, drawn perpendicularly to the lowest line vividly show the degree of accentual sonority of the syllabic phonemes and the height of the voice-pitch, which is bigger within the strongest syllable, smaller within the second strongest syllable, etc. pitch (5 in our examples). Such graphs help to visualize the greater intensity of syllables with primary and secondary stress compared to other, less prominent syllables. There is some controversy about degrees of the word stress terminology and about placing the stress marks. Most British phoneticians term the strongest stress primary, the second strongest secondary and all the other degrees of stress weak. The stress marks placed before the stressed syllables indicate simultaneously their places and the point of syllable division: exflmVnation. 

WORD ACCENTUAL PATTERNS

    Some scientists use large and smaller dots to indicate stressed and unstressed syllables within the intonation group, e. g. J. D. O'Connor, G. F. Arnold, A. C. Gimson.

    According to Gimson, the accentual elements of words can be marked in the following way: \ syllable receiving potential primary (tonic, nuclear) accent; . 0 syllable receiving potential secondary (pitch prominent, or rhythmic) accent; in pre-nuclear syllables such secondary accent is frequently manifested by actual or potential pitch prominence; in post-nuclear syllables, secondary accent may be manifested, when adjacent to tonic, merely by qualitative and quantitative prominence, marked as0, or, when remote from tonic, together with a rhythmical beat, marked.; .. — unaccented syllable (associated usually with the "weak" vowels /9, u/ or with syllabic /m, n, 1/.

Here are some accentual patterns for 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6- and 7-, 9-syl-lable words according to Gimson's representation:

.\ unknown; \e female, window

\.. quantity, yesterday; .\0 tobacco, tomato

.\.. remarkable, impossible; \... counterattack

...\. affiliation, consideration; ..\.. reabilitate

...\... characteristically, variability, meteorological

..\.... unilateralism;  \. internationalization

    In spite of the fact, that word accent in the English word stress system is free, there are certain factors, that determine the place and different degree of word stress. V. A. Vassilyev describes them as follows:

(1) recessive tendency, (2) rhythmic tendency, (3) retentive tendency and (4) semantic factor.

  1.  Recessive tendency results in placing the word stress on the initial syllable. It can be of two sub-types: (a) unrestricted recessive accent, which falls on the first syllable: father/1 fa: ðэ/, mother/'m^ðэ/ and (b) restricted recessive accent, which is characterized by placing the word accent on the root of the word if this word has a prefix, which has lost its meaning: become /bi'k^m/, begin /bi'gin/.
  2.  Rhythmic tendency results in alternating stressed and unstressed syllables. Rhythmical accent, can be: (a) historically or diachronically rhythmical, with one stress, which was originally rhythmical. It falls on the third syllable from the end in three and four syllable words, e. g. family /'fæmili/,  nation /'neijn/ and (b) synchroni-cally rhythmical in words with a secondary stress on the second pretonic syllable, e. g. pronunciation /prən^nsi'eiJn/.
  3.  Retentive tendency consists in the retention of the primary accent on the parent word, e.g. person personal /'p9:sn 'p9:s9nl/. More commonly it is retained in the parent word as a secondary accent, e. g. similar similarity /'simita ^imi'lasnti/.

The interaction of the recessive and rhythmic tendencies resulted in the victory of (a) recessive tendency in a few four syllable words, e. g. adversary /' aedV9:s9n/; (b) in the victory of historically rhythmic tendency in three or four syllable words, e. g. family /'fæmili/, ability /9'biliti/, or in (c) a compromize which was, in its turn, of two types:

when a three syllable word received its accent on the first syllable, e. g. enemy /'еnəmi/, cinema /'sinimə/ (coincidence of historically rhythmical and recessive tendency);

when one and the same word can be pronounced according to both tendencies: rhythmic and recessive, e. g.

territory /'terit9n/full style, R. P.

/'teritri/ — rapid colloquial style, R. P.

These are stylistically conditioned intraidiolectal accentual variants. Such cases can be also observed in Russian, e. g. п/л/шёл, which is pronounced in full style and п/ъ/шёл, pronounced in rapid colloquial style;

when one and the same word is pronounced differently by dif
ferent speakers, e. g.
hospitable /'hospitəbl/, /hos'pitəbl/ these are inter-
idiolectal (individual) free accentual variants. Such cases can be observed
in the Russian language, e. g.
творог, /тв^рок/.

Free accentual interidiolectal variants should not be confused with orthoepically incorrect accentuation, e. g. портфель /пoртфьель/ instead of /плртфьёль/.

(4) The next factor which influences the place and the degree of stress in English words is, according to Vassilyev, a semantic one. It can be observed in compound words, and according to this factor the most important part of the compound is usually stressed. It is, as a rule, the first element of the compound, e. g. 'bluebottle, 'booking office, 'buttonhole, 'musical box, 'fire extinguisher, etc.

    Compound words can be represented by one word, two words, or two words written with a hyphen, but it is necessary that they should-contain two separable roots.

There are compounds in English which have two strong stresses, because both of their elements are semantically important. They are:

  1.  Words with prefixes which have their own meaning. Negative prefixes: amti-, non-, e. g. 'non-party, 'anti-'revolutionary. Prefix ex-in the meaning of "former", e. g. 'ex-minister. Prefix re- meaning "repetition", e. g. 're'write. Prefix under- meaning "subordination, assistance, insufficiency", e. g. 'under'do.. Prefix vice- meaning "in place of", e. g. 'vice-'president. Prefix over- meaning "too much", e. g. 'over'build. Prefix pre- meaning "prior to", e. g. 'pre'dorsal. Prefix ultra- when used with adjectives, e. g. 'ultra- fashionable.
  2.  Compound adjectives such as: 'well-known, ' double-stressed, 'evil-'looking, etc., have two equal stresses, because both elements of these-adjectives are equally significant.

    Verbs consisting of a verb and a postpositional element of adverbial origin, which is semantically important, have two equal stresses, e. g. to 'get 'up, to 'put 'off.

    Accent performs constitutive, distinctive and recognitive functions. (1) It organizes words when they are pronounced separately and joined into sentences. (2) It helps to recognize words. (3) It helps to distinguish words and their grammatical forms: 'conduct (noun) to con'duct (verb), 'conflict (noun) to conflict (verb). It also helps to distinguish compound words from word combinations, e. g. 'blackboard (классная доска), 'black 'board (черная доска).

   Vassilyev writes that "this function makes word accent a separate supra segmental, or prosodic, phonological unit which may be called accenteme."1 He distinguishes three word accentemes in English: primary equal to the primary stress, secondary equal to the secondary stress, weak —equal to unstressed syllables.     

    In the examples: 'insult in'suit we have a form-distinctive accenteme. In the examples: billow /'bilou/ (морской вал) — below /bi'lou/ (вниз) we have a word-distinctive accenteme which differentiates the meaning of two words.

    There are word and form distinctive accentemes in the Russian language as well. In мукамука the meaning of the words is differentiated by the word-distinctive accenteme and in рукаруки the singular and plural forms are differentiated by the form-distinctive accenteme.

     Stress difficulties peculiar to the accentual structure of the English language are connected with two factors: inherent prominence of sounds and their special prominence.

     Inherent prominence manifests itself in the fact, that the quantjty ol long vowels and diphthongs may be preserved in (a) pretonic and (b) post-tonic position.

(a) idea /ai'diə/ (b) placard /'plæka:d/

sarcastic /sa:'kaætik/ railway /'reilwei/

archaic /a:'kiik/ compound /'kompaund/

    Special prominence is connected with the following difficulties of the English accentual structure:

  1.  Presence of secondary stress in a great number of words, where it may fall on the first or on the second syllable, e. g. modification /.modifi'keijn/, administration /^mim'streijn/.
  2.  Absence of secondary stress in a number of words with the initial /i/, the single stress is placed on the third syllable: electricity /ilek-'tnsiti/, elasticity /ilaes'tisiti/. When such words are pronounced with the initial /i:, e/ they have a secondary stress.

(3) Single  stress   in   compounds  due   to  the manifestation   of  the

semantic factor:

  1.  when compound nouns denote a single idea, e. g. 'blacksmith (кузнец), 'walking stick (палка, трость);
  2.  when the first element of the compound is most important, e. g. 'birthday (день рождения), 'darning needle (штопальная игла; амер. стрекоза);
  3.  when the first element of the compound is contrasted with some other word, e. g. 'flute player (флейтист), cf. banjo player.
  4.  when a compound is very common and frequently used it may have a single stress, e.,g. 'midsummer (середина лета), 'midnight (полночь); exceptions: 'down'hill (покатый), 'up'hill (в гору), 'down'stairs (вниз), 'up'stairs (вверх), 'passer'by (случайный прохожий), 'point'blank (перен.  решительный);
  5.  compounds of three elements have a single stress on the second element due to the rhythmic tendency, e. g. hot 'water bottle (грелка), waste 'paper basket (корзина для (ненужных) бумаг);

(i) nouns compounded of a verb and an adverb have one single stress on the first element, e. g. a 'make up, a 'set up, a 'setback.

    Since words are not pronounced separately but joined into phrases and sentences, word accent is determined by different factors, that are connected with sentence stress, semantic importance of the word in the sentence, rhythm, emotional colouring and even the mood of the speaker. For example, the word 'thir'teen has two equal stresses but under the influence of rhythm it may be pronounced with one single stress on the first syllable: Her number is 'thirteen hundred. The same is observed in adjectives ending in the suffix -ese and denoting nationality, e. g. Bur'mese, Chi'nese, Japa'nese, etc., but a 'Burmese book, etc.

    In conclusion we may state, that the interpretation of the nature of word accent given by Soviet phoneticians is thorough and profound, because they do not reduce the problem of accent to different degrees of loudness and discriminate between word, phrase, and sentence stresses.

 




 

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