What Is A Stressed Syllable


Last week I was talking to you about rhythm
in intonation and specifically how speaking in a stress timed rhythm would help you to
sound much more confident and much more at ease speaking British English. And as a part of the video I mentioned syllables
and I said if you don’t know what a syllable was that you should go onto Google and check
it out and it would give you the answer and I thought well maybe I should make you a video
about syllables and so this is what I am doing and I’m gonna talk about syllables and the
number of syllables in words but more importantly and more relevant how to stress those syllables
in words in British English. So here goes – what is a syllable? A syllable is essentially a single unit of
speech and that unit of speech tends to contain a vowel sound and that may have a consonant
after it or before it, it may even have what is called a cluster of constance which means
more than one constant before it or after it. So for instance ‘at’ is a single syllable.
It happens to be a word but it’s a single syllable word; to’, ‘if’, ‘a’, so
these are single syllable words in another name for those are mono-syllabic words and
here are a few more: at to bit can bite stack thwart click our
or are And a word that contains more than one syllable
is sometimes referred to as a poly-syllabic word or some people say multi-syllable word.
I prefer polysyllabic word. Here are a few of those: a.head – contains two syllables
a.men.ded – contains three syllables ra.di.at.or – contains four syllables
a.bbre.vi.a.ted – contains five syllables au.tho.ri.ta.ri.an – contains six syllables And in polysyllabic words it’s important to
know which syllable is stressed. So, for example in the word ‘ahead’, ‘HEAD’ is the
stressed syllable and the ‘a’ at the beginning is un-stressed – ‘a.HEAD’. In ‘amended’,
‘MEN’ is the stressed syllable the ‘a’ and the ‘ded’ at the end are unstressed
– ‘a.MEN.ded’ and this is important because a lot of non-native speakers tend to either
stress too many of the syllables in those words or they stress the wrong syllables.
Now the way in which we stress the syllable this is the important bit is that we change
the pitch of our voice and to keep things simple for now the most common way that we
do that is by increasing the pitch of our voice, not the loudness of our voice but changing
the pitch to a slightly higher note so for instance: ‘a.HEAD’, ‘a.MEN.ded’. Can
you hear that. Here are some more examples: RA.di.a.tor
a.BBRE.vi.a.ted au.tho.ri.TA.ri.an
a.MEN.ded WON.der.ful
al.THOUGH GE.ni.us
in.CRE.di.bly frus.TRA.ting al.THOUGH you are a GE.ni.us you are in.CRE.di.bly
frus.TRA.ting So a syllable is a unit of speech that contains
a vowel sound that may have a consonant or cluster of consonants before or after it and
there are words that are monosyllabic single syllable words and words that are polysyllabic
and stressing the right syllable in those polysyllabic words by way of changing the
pitch of your voice is the way that we would bring attention to and stress that part of
the word in British English. So I hope you found that useful and if you
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