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Eka Andriyani, S.Pd., M.Hum

What is What is
“syllable”? “stress”?
Syllable : Unit of speech, either a whole word or
one of the parts into which a word can be
divided or separated, usually containing a
vowel (nucleus).

Stress : When a word or syllable is pronounced

with greater force than other words in the
same sentence or other syllables in the
same word.
 In Old English, many words were monosyllabic. If
the word was multisyllabic, the first syllable of
word was always stressed with the exception of
those words beginning with a prefix. If the word
began with a prefix, the next syllable was
automatically stressed.

 This straightforward and consistent pattern of

syllable stress was disrupted when loanwords
from various languages entered into Middle and
Modern English.
 Because there is no governing principle to
dictate pronunciation, grammar, and
spelling rules for the English language,
many factors effect stress patterns.

These factors include (but are not limited)

to standards of pronunciation, the formality
of the speaking situation, and dialects.
 There are two main types of syllable stress
recognized by the IPA. The symbols used to
denote stress can be found in the
suprasegmentals section of the IPA.

 At the word level, primary stress is denoted by a

superior vertical stroke (/ ‘ /) as in apple [‘æpl],
and secondary stress is denoted by an inferior
vertical stroke (/ , /) as in yellow [‘ jel,əʊ].
 A syllable receiving either primary or
secondary stress is considered to be a
stressed syllable.

 There are also syllables that receive no

stress. No symbol of any type is placed on
a nonstressed syllable.
 This is important to remember that ....

“Good listening skills are crucial to

mastery of the concept of syllable
 Monosyllabic Words
 Bisyllabic Words
 Multisyllabic Words
 Monosyllabic word is a word which contains only one

 In monosyllabic words, most of the syllables are not

denoted by the stroke (/ ‘ /) except when they stand
within a sentence.

You [ ju: ]
Good [ gʊd ]
Tie [ taɪ ]
Fan [ fæn ], etc.
 Bysillabic word is a word which consists of
two syllables.

 There are four common patterns that can

be noted in pronouncing and transcribing
two syllable words at the word level.

They are:
Type 1:
 This type is exemplified by two syllable
words in which the first syllable receives
primary stress and the second syllable
receives no stress.

table [ ‘teɪbl ]
open [ ‘əʊpən ]
paper [ ‘peɪpə(r) ]
morning [ ‘mɔ:nɪŋ ]
kindness [ ‘kaɪndnəs ]
college [ ‘kɒlɪdʒ ]
happens [ ‘hæpənz ]
practice [ ‘præktɪs ]
radish [ ‘rædɪʃ ]
rhythm [ ‘rɪðəm ]
biscuit [ ‘bɪskɪt ]
closest [ ‘kləʊsəst ]
tosses [ ‘tɒsəz ]
busy [ ‘bɪzi ]
blissful [ ‘blɪsfəl ]
hopeless [ ‘həʊpləs ]
Type 2:
 Type 2 is exemplified by two syllable
words in which the first syllable receives
no stress and the second receives
primary stress.

above [ ə ‘bʌv ]
behind [ bɪ ‘haɪnd ]
complete [ kəm ‘plɪt ]
convince [ kən ’vɪns ]
defeat [ dɪ ‘fi:t ]
discuss [ dɪ ‘skʌs ]
accept [ əks ’sept ]
inside [ ɪn ’saɪd ]
obtuse [ əb ‘tju:s ]
pretend [ prɪ ’tend ]
regard [ rɪ ‘gɑ:(r)d ]
forgive [ fə ’gɪv ]
suppose [ sə ’pəʊz ]
today [tə ‘deɪ ]
mistake [ mɪ ’steɪk ]
Type 3:
 Type 3 is exemplified by one syllable receiving
secondary stress. Although it is more common to
have the first syllable receive the primary stress and
the second syllable receive the secondary stress, the
other variation is often used in pronunciation.
 Examples:
present [‘pre,zent] [,prɪ’zent]
Type 4:
 Type 4 is exemplified by both syllables receiving
primary stress. These words are usually in form of
compound words.
baseball [‘beɪs ‘bɔ:l]
hotdog [‘hɒt ‘dɒg]
C. Multisyllabic
 Multisillabic word is a word which
consists of more than two syllables.

 Multisyllabic words may have more

than one syllable that receive
secondary stress.
The example patterns for three syllable words are as

1. Stresses-unstressed-unstressed:
animal [‘æ nɪ ml]

2. Unstressed-stressed-unstressed:
disgraceful [dɪs ‘greɪs fəl]

3. Unstressed-stressed-stressed:
Chicago [ʃə ‘kɑ: ,gəʊ]

4. Stressed-unstressed-stressed:
buffalo [‘bʌ fə ,ləʊ]

5. Stressed-stressed-unstressed:
electric [,ɪ ‘lek trɪk]
Sample stress patterns for four syllable words are as

1. Stressed-unstressed-unstressed-unstressed:
Questionable [‘kwes tʃə nə bl]

2. Unstressed-stressed-unstressed-unstressed:
Disgracefully [dɪs ‘greɪs fə li]

3. Unstressed-stressed-stressed-unstressed:
Accomplishment [ə ‘kʌm ,plɪʃ mənt]

4. Stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed:
Aromatic [‘æ rə ,mæ tɪk]

5. Stressed-stressed-unstressed-unstressed:
Obesity [,əʊ ’bi: sɪ ti]
 The approximant /w/ and /j/ are frequently used as
intrusive in conversational speech.

 The intrusive phonemes appears in words such as

buyer [‘baɪə(r)] → [‘baɪjɚ]
employee [ɪm’plɔɪi:] → [‘ɪm ,plɔɪji]

or between words at the phrase level, as in:

how about [‘haʊ ə’baʊt] → [‘haʊw ə ‘baʊt].

 The inclusion of an intrusive approximant is usually called

“transition glides”.
 The use of Open Juncture (a short pause
between phonemes, syllables, or words) allows
for the vowel pronunciation without an intrusive

 In conversational speech, Closed Juncture (the

smooth transition between phoneme, syllables,
or words without a time separation) invites the
use of intrusive approximants.
[‘baɪə(r)] → [‘baɪjɚ]