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Saturday January 3rd, 2009
English Pronunciation Podcast 17-
Syllable Stress in Words of 3 or More Syllables (Part I):
This podcast teaches you how to find the stress in words which have three or more syllables.

    

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The Focus of this Week's Podcast:

In this week's podcast we're going to learn how to determine syllable stress in words of three or more syllables.
Sometimes when you're studying or reading in English, you might encounter a very long word with three or more syllables and you might wonder, "where does the stress fall in this word? How am i supposed to know where the stress is?"
In this weeks podcast, we're going to begin to learn how to determine where the syllable stress falls in these long multi- syllabic words- words of three or more syllables.

General Rule: In order to determine the syllable stress of words of three or more syllables in English, you want to look at the suffix of the word. The suffix is the ending, the end part of a word. The suffix of a word will act as a signal.

By recognizing the suffix of the word, you wil be able to determine
where the stress falls.

Today's podcast will focus on a specific group of suffixes.
These suffixes have no effect on the stress of the root form of the word.

Example: suffix <ful> has no effect on the stress of root form.

root: beauty: stress falls on the first syllable (long vowel and higher on pitch on first syllable)

Add suffix <ful> to beauty- beautiful

The stress stays on the same first syllable because <ful> is one of those suffixes which has no effect on the syllable stress.

*There are many other suffixes which have an effect on the syllable stress.They're going to shift it- move it. We're not going to look at those suffixes today.
As you can imagine, the rules concerning those suffixes are a bit more difficult. We'll look at those suffixes in future podcasts.

Exercise: Suffixes which do not change the syllable stress of the root.
Please listen and repeat the first two examples.
On the third example, you will hear only the root of the word. You will add the suffix to that root and say the complete word using proper syllable stress.:

Suffix: <able>

believe... believable... depend... dependable... understand ...

suffix:<ful>

beauty... beautiful... power ... powerful... suspense...

suffix:<ment>

invest ... investment... develop... development... establish ....

suffix:<ness>

happy... happiness... forgive... forgiveness... ugly...

suffix:<ed> (simple past tense)

prevent ...prevented ...mention... mentioned... appreciate...

suffix:<er>(comparative form)

funny... funnier ... happy... happier... fancy...

suffix:<ing> (present continous and gerunds)

decide... deciding... finish... finishing... calculate...

Today's lesson is just the beginning of our discussion of syllable stress for words with three or more syllables.

In future lessons, we're going to look at some suffixes which affect the syllable stress of the root.
Until then, be sure to practice these suffixes which we learned today. You can try finding other words which contain these suffixes. Find the root of the word, add the suffix and notice how the syllable stress stays in the same place.

You Need More Training!

If you're looking for more training with syllable stress, I recommend Best Accent Training mp3s- a full English Pronunciation course in mp3 format.

Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at:  contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!

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Photograph     photography    photgraphic

Why is this?

The reason the stress is moving is due to the suffix of each word. There are certain suffixes which will determine where the stress falls.

Whenever you see the suffix, graphy the stress willl fall right before the suffix, one syllable before.

Example: geography

Whenever you see the suffix ic the stress will fall immediately before the suffix.

Example: economic

Here are some important suffixes for which the stress falls immediately before the suffix:

cial, tion and ic

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following suffixes and words.
Pay careful attention to syllable stress, making the vowel long and the pitch higher on the stressed syllable right before the suffix.

suffix: cial          

financial          
commercial        
artificial          

Suffix: tion

information         
inflation          
assasination          

Suffix:ic

electric            
fantastic         
economic          

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words.
The first word is the root form, the second is the variation with the suffix and then there is a sentence which uses both forms.
Pay careful attention to the shift in syllable stress in each form.

root             root+suffix

finance        financial
He learned a lot about finance reading the financial times.

root                root+suffix

commerce       commercial
Commerce is growing in the commercial district.

root                root+suffix

inform     information

We were informed that the information was not correct.

root             root+suffix

assasin        assasination
Several assasins were involved in the assasanation.

root               root+suffix

fantasy         fantastic
That fantasy writer is fantastic.

root               root+suffix

economy    economic

The economy follows certain rules of economics.


There are many more suffixes which affect the stress of a word. There are suffixes for which the stress falls one syllable before the suffix., suffixes for which the stress falls two syllables before the suffix, suffixes for which the stress falls on the suffix.

Again, if you can remember the syllable stress of a word just by feeling the rhythm, musically, that's good! I definitely encourage you to try to learn that way. At the same time, it's good to know these rules for reference and knowledge, in case you have to figure out the syllable stress of a new word.

Looking for more practice? Try  Best Accent Training mp3s!

Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at:  contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!

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