- Philip M Russell
Speaking Better English - Paying Attention to the Stressed Sounds
Updated: May 22, 2021
When you listen to people speaking English , you start to notice that they stress certain sounds in words. Sometimes in different sentences or in different contexts the same word is stressed differently.
The English language uses stress in words and in sentences. What this means is that when you speak English you will also need to stress, or emphasize, certain words and syllables (sounds) to give words and sentences different meanings. Sometimes, placing the stress on the wrong syllable completely changes the word and perhaps its meaning.
Written to spoken English AL-ways has this problem. In many cases the stress is achieved by changing the pitch of a word.
Here are some examples
Let us look at the word - record - changing from a noun to a verb
As you can see in the short video you can stress any sound in a sentence. Stressed words are used in the spoken language and are not see very often in the written word. When I read a book to my students each time I read a passage I can stress different words to modify the meaning. Usually I will read a passage through before reading it out loud so I have a better understanding of what words might need to be stressed.
RE-cord I always keep a RE-cord of what I spend
re_CORD I re_CORD how much money I spend
Here the tense of the word is shown by the stress in the word
This is another example changing from a verb to a noun just by changing the stress.
AD-dress Do you know Philip's AD-dress?
ad-DRESS You can't ad-DRESS Philip like that.
Some phonemes can be stressed to make the word more intelligible - so that the listener can more easily understand the meaning of the word.