Look at the following piece of text. You'll notice that the author's 1 discussion about stress moves from looking at stress within words to stress within sentences and then on to stress as a distinguisher between words and phrases.
Identify Topic Sentences in the following text by clicking on the sentence.
The stress or accent pattern within a word is intimately related to the sounds in it, especially to the vowel sounds. In English, vowels are longer, louder, and often higher in pitch when they are in stressed (accented) syllables than when they are in unstressed syllables. In addition, if adding an ending to a word causes the stress to shift from one syllable to another, some of the vowels in the word may change more drastically and actually become different phonemes. These changes are often not reflected in spelling. For example, when the word declare is used to make the word declaration, the stress changes: the first syllable gains a little stress, the second syllable loses its stress while the strongest stress goes to the third syllable.
In constructing sentences and sentence meanings, stress has many uses: the most familiar is probably contrastive or emphatic stress, as when one says "I want the black book, not the green book" with the strongest stresses on black and green. Compare this sentence with "I want the black book, not the black notebook"; in the latter the strongest stresses are on the first book and on note.
Stress is also used in English to distinguish compound nouns from phrases: greenhouse is a compound noun and is stressed on the word green, but a green house is any house painted green and when there is no occasion for emphasis on colour, the word house bears greater or at least equal stress, as in "At the end of this road, there's a green house and then a pond". In this particular pair, spelling distinguishes the compound greenhouse from the phrase green house; however, orthography is not reliable since, for example, the compound hot dog (frankfurter) is spelled the same as the phrase hot dog (a very warm canine pet).
1Berko-Gleeson J.(1993) The Development of Laguage Macmillan: NewYork
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