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Saturday January 10th, 2009
English Pronunciation Podcast 18-
Syllable Stress in Words of 3 or More Syllables (Part II):
This podcast continues to teach you how to find the stress in words which have three or more syllables.

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I recommend that you listen to podcast #14 and 15, before using this one, if you haven't already.

In last week's podcast, we learned about a group of suffixes which do not affect the stress of the root word.
This week were going to learn some of the suffixes which have a special effect on the root word. We're going to learn some of the suffixes which move or shift the stress of the root word.

Example:

Photograph, photgraphy and photographic all contain the same root- photograph, and yet each of them is different in terms of where the stress falls.

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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