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3. English Word Stress: notion, types, functions.

Word stress (WS) can be defined as the singling out of one or more syllables in a word, which is accompanied by the change of the force of utterance, pitch of the voice, qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the sound which is usually a vowel.

From the perceptual point of view, stressed syllables are recognized as stressed because they are more prominent than unstressed syllables.

The majority of phoneticians consider that there are three degrees of word-stress in English:

  • primary – the strongest

  • secondary – the second strongest, partial

  • weak – all the other degrees

The syllables bearing either primary or secondary stress are termed stressed

Syllables with weak stress are called unstressed.

Word stress in a language performs the following functions:

1) The constitutive function - It helps the listener to judge how many individual words the speaker has produced in a given utterance.

2) The identificatory function -correct lexical stress enables the listener to decode the information in verbal communication adequately

3) The distinctive/contrastive function - word stress alone is capable of differentiating the meanings of words or their forms in some pairs of words: ‘import (n) – im’port (v), ‘insult (n) – in’sult (v).

4/ The Syllable. Types.

The central element in the language mechanism is a word. Words are articulated in syllables.

The syllable is a group of sounds that are pronounced together.

The syllable is one or more speech sounds forming a single uninterrupted unit of utterance which may be a commonly recognized subdivision of a word or the whole of the word.

According to the placement of vowels and consonants the following basic types of syllables are distinguished:

1) open (the vowel is at the end): no /nэu/ CV

2) closed (the consonant is at the end): odd /od/ VC

3) covered (beginning with the consonant): note /nэut/ CV(C)

4) uncovered (beginning with the vowel): oak /эuk/ V(C)

Open syllables can be fully open (or /o:/, V) or covered at the beginning (tie /tai/, CV).

Closed syllables can be fully closed (fat /faet/, CVC ) and covered at the end (on /on/, VC).

Structurally, the commonest types of the syllable in English are VC, CVC.

CV is considered to be the universal structure. CV syllabic types constitute more than half of all structural types in Russian and Ukrainian.

The characteristic feature of English is monosyllabism: it contains between four and five thousand monosyllabic words. Most of the words of old English origin are of one syllable. The limit for the number of syllables in a word in English is 8: incomprehensibility.

5. Prosodic system of The English language/intonation.

Prosody or prosodic features of language is a term that refers collectively to variations in pitch, loudness, tempo and rhythm.

Просодия или просодических особенностей языка является термин, который относится коллективно изменения шага, громкость, темп и ритм.

Просо́дия (в фонетике) — учение об ударении, тоне, интонации, то есть о супрасегментных единицах звучания.

Prosody and intonation relate to each other as a more general notion (prosody) and its part (intonation).

Intonation is a complex unity of a number of components such as

1) speech melody (pitch component);

2) sentence stress (intensity);

3) tempo (temporal component);

4) rhythm;

5) pausation;

6) voice timbre.

Intonation patterns serve to actualize syntagms in oral speech.

The syntagm is a group of words which is semantically and syntactically complete.

A complex unity of speech melody, sentence-stress, rhythm, tempo, and timbre is called intonation.

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