IELTS Speaking Test Exercises - Pronunciation # Part 6 : Word Stress | IELTS Eddy Suaib

IELTS Speaking Test Exercises - Pronunciation # Part 6 : Word Stress

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In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense. (wikipedia)

There are two very simple rules about word stress:
1. One word has only one stress. (One word cannot have two stresses. If you hear two stresses, you hear two words. Two stresses cannot be one word. It is true that there can be a "secondary" stress in some words. But a secondary stress is much smaller than the main [primary] stress, and is only used in long words.)
2. We can only stress vowels, not consonants.
Sometimes different stress in spoken words could have different meaning.

The stressing sign can be found in the dictionary with apostrophe symbol ['].
There are many two-syllable words in English whose meaning and class change with a change in stress. The word present, for example is a two-syllable word. If we stress the first syllable, it is a noun (gift) or an adjective (opposite of absent). But if we stress the second syllable, it becomes a verb (to offer). More examples: the words export, import, contract and object can all be nouns or verbs depending on whether the stress is on the first or second syllable.

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