Clear speech plays a key role in speaking English fluently. Good pronunciation calls for correct stress on words and unless you know where to stress, clear speech is difficult to attain.
As an online spoken English program provider, we ensure to train our students on the importance of correct intonation and stress. Whether you are applying for a job interview or giving a presentation in college or taking part in a debate, clear speech will decide your effectiveness.
You can improve your English communication skills to a great length by learning the importance of word stress while speaking. While for native English speakers, it comes naturally. But for others, it is the key to flourish in spoken English. Accurate pronunciation will not only boost your confidence but will also encourage you to communicate in English more freely.
Understanding the key attributes of word stress
Syllables and Stress
A syllable is defined as a word, or part of a word, which is inclusive of a single vowel sound. In short, words with just one vowel sound.
• Examples of one syllable
Cup, man, hat, dog, moon, feet, break etc.
A word can contain more than a syllable.
• Example of two Syllables
Garden (Gar-den), object (ob-ject), quiet (qui-et), orange (or-ange), focus (fo -cus), table (ta-ble), etc.
• Example of three Syllables
Department ( de - part - ment), Expensive (ex-pen-sive), Saturday (sa - tur - day), etc.
Syllables and word stress are interrelated
Syllables help us to lay emphasis while practicing speaking English. When there is more than one syllable, what will you do? Where would you place stress on while speaking English.
In English language, not each syllable is stressed when we have more than one syllable. We accentuate just one syllable.
For instance: TEACHer, imPORtant, PHOtograph
You do not always have to stress on the same syllable while speaking English. It is a known fact that native English speakers always pay attention to the STRESSED syllables. Once you start practicing English speaking using word stress, you will notice an instant improvement in your pronunciation and understanding.
Word stress is a natural component of the English language and hence it is crucial for our spoken English program students to get a strong grip on it.
Intonation and Stress
Intonation means the rise and fall in the voice while speaking. When you practice speaking English, you will observe that there is certain music in the language. In linguistics, intonation means a variation in your spoken pitch such that it indicates your emotions. Intonation is different from syllable stress.
For instance: "Jaya, How are you?"
This is a question and it will sound different from a sentence.
Hi! Nancy, I am doing good.
Intonation and word stress are interrelated
You can learn intonation by saying a same sentence loud, first as a question and then as a general statement.
Observe the difference in sound. This difference is called intonation.
Intonation may vary based on the situation and your decision to lay emphasis on a word. As a basic rule, it is better to lay stress on nouns, then verbs and then other words.
People with knowledge of intonation can manage to have a good accent. A good English speaking course would train you on the principles of intonation and word stress. These are the things that differentiate a native English speaker from a non-native speaker.
We shall give you more tips on word stress in our upcoming blogs on learning to speak English online.
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- By Monika Agarwal
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