Stress Patterns in Prefixes and Suffixes
Stress is an important feature of English pronunciation and to become a powerful
communicator of English one needs proficiency while using different stress
patterns in his communication. Modern man is fully aware of the importance of
English in everyday affairs of modern world. Men and women both are aware of
the extensive use of this language in the field of trade and commerce, travel and
tourasim, banking, administration, aviation, law and above all education. And
now with the advent of globalization and a revolution in information technology,
the importance of this language is further increased.
Stress is crucial in English pronunciation. It can be called a grammatical device
in English. In English a part of the meanings of a word depends on its stress. It
serves to mark the function of words in spoken English. Most of our students
learn English grammar from books. That is why their sense of stress remain
undeveloped. One thing should necessarily kept in mind that English word are
pronounced with one dominant syllable while the other syllables tend to get
squashed and reduced. So to say to become a powerful communicator of English
one must be proficient in using stress.
What is stress?
Stress is the degree of force with which a syllable or a word is uttered. It can
more easily be defined as degree of prominence a syllable has. When we put a
greater breath force on a syllable it becomes a stressed syllable. Stress is also
called the word accent of a sentence. If a syllable has more than one syllable then
one of the syllables stands out from the rest and this causes stress.
In a word table the first syllable is /tei/. It is more prominent than the second /bl/.
Similarly in the word committee /k'miti/ the second syllable /mi/ is more
prominent. Taking example of recommend, the third syllable /mend/ is more
prominent than others and it is said to receive the accent.
Nature of Stress:
The nature of stress is simple enough. Everyone can easily understand that first
syllable of these words like father, open, camera is stressed. Then the middle
syllable in potato, apartment, and relation is stressed. Again we notice that final
syllable in about, receive, and perhaps are stressed.
Production and Perception of Stress Syllables:
We can study stress from the point of view of production and of perception. Both
are closely related but not identical. Production of stress is generally believe to
depend on the speaker using more muscular energy than is used for unstressed
syllables. Measurement of muscular effort is difficult but it seems possible
according to experimental study while producing stressed syllables muscles that
are used to expel air from the lungs are more active. Many experiments have
been carried out on the perception of stress. From perceptual point of view all
stressed syllable have one characteristic in common and that is prominence.
Stressed syllables are recognized as stressed because they are more prominent
than unstressed syllables.
Types of Stress:
There are two types of stress.
1) Word stress.
2) Sentence stress.
Word stress shows what syllable or syllables in a word are stressed. e.g, useful is
stressed on the first syllable, mistake is stressed on the second syllable,
advantageous has a primary stress on the third syllable and a secondary stress on
the first syllable.
Rules of Word Stress:
Stress on words in English is not tied to any particular syllable for the entire
vocabulary. Stress pattern of the each word in English has to be learnt
individually. There are certain groups of words which follow some regular stress
patterns. These patterns allow so few exceptions that they may be regarded as
rules of word stress. These rules are based on the kinds of prefixes and suffixes
or word endings.
Rules Related to Suffixes:
There are two types of suffixes.
1) Inflexional Suffixes:
These are those suffixes when attached towards do not change their parts of
speech or grammatical status. Another feature of these suffixes is that once they
have been attached to a word, no other suffix can be added. Such suffixes do not
affect the stress of words.
'Picture 'pictures 'enter 'entering
'Table 'tables 'play 'played
'Simple 'simpler 'heavy 'heavier
2) Derivational Suffixes:
Derivational suffixes are those which we use to derive new words. They may or
may not change the part of speech of the word to which they are attached. Some
derivational suffixes do not affect the stress while others do.
a) The following derivational suffixes do not affect the stress.
b) The derivational suffixes that bring change in stress are given below.
Millio 'nair engi 'neer addres 'see
Cava 'lier ru 'pee tru 'stee
Sentence stress indicates what words in a sentence are stressed. Look at the
Examples of sentence stress
1) It’s a `door.
2)`Take a `book out of the `bag.
3) The `dog is a `faithful `animal.
4) `Bring me a `pencil.
Which Words are Stressed and Which are not:
In English speech some words are stressed and others are not. In normal speech
all nouns, demonstrative and interrogative pronouns, main verbs, adjectives and
adverbs are stressed. The pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, helping verbs are
1) Her complexion is fair. (Adjective)
2) Who is there? (Interrogative)
3) I went to Multan. (Main Verb)
4) Ahmad is a good boy. (Noun)
5) Marry went there quickly. (Adverb)