Hai yếu tố quan trọng trong phát âm Tiếng Anh: word stress & intonation
Don’t Ignore These Important Elements of Pronunciation
When used in the context of linguistics, word stress essentially refers to the syllable in a word that’s emphasized the most.
Some languages, like Spanish, use accents to show stress, but English offers no such easy trick. Stress is very important when speaking English because a word can entirely change meaning depending on where you put the stress.
For the purpose of the examples here, I’ll divide syllables with dashes and show stress with bold text.
Consider the word “contest,” which has two syllables: con-test.
You can either put stress on the first syllable or the second, which would be as follows:
The word with stress on the first syllable is a noun that means “a competition.” The word with stress on the second syllable is a verb that means “to oppose.” Note that in this case, the word stress not only changes the meaning of the word but also the part of speech (noun vs. verb).
You can hear both words compared side-by-side by listening to this audio file on Forvo, an online English pronunciation dictionary.
Let’s look at another example.
The word “present” has two syllables that can be broken up and stressed differently depending on what you wish to say.
/pres-ent/ (hear the pronunciation)
/pre-sent/ (hear the pronunciation)
The first example is a noun meaning “a gift.” The second is a verb that means “to introduce.”
As you can tell by its name, Word Stress is a great resource to practice pronunciation with correct word stress. They break words down into syllables and have users click to reveal which ones are stressed.
They helpfully track the number of words you get correct, so you can see your progress as you practice. Plus, you can click to reveal a word’s part of speech, definition, stress and its International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols.
If you didn’t raise or lower your voice at certain parts of each sentence, you’d sound like a robot!
Intonation involves the rise and fall of your voice when speaking in full sentences. Incorrect intonation can change the meaning of a sentence or just sound very strange to native speakers. It’s especially important for conveying feelings or adding nuance to sentences.
For example, think about the sentence, “Why are you home so late?”
Imagine asking your spouse this simple question, genuinely wondering why he or she is home late. Practice the question aloud with a tone of curiosity. Perhaps you’d use a light falling intonation at the end of your sentence.
Now, practice saying it while imagining that you’re angry, believing that your spouse has been out doing something you aren’t happy about. When using an accusatory tone, your pitch might rapidly rise and fall.
It’s important to master English intonation if you want to sound natural and keep listeners focused on the content of your sentences. Here’s an in-depth guide to how English speakers use intonation in different contexts.
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