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Word stress. Sentence stress



1. Acoustic properties of stress.

Stress is a certain degree of prominence which makes a syllable stand out acoustically above the adjacent (примыкающие) syllables. To make a syllable prominent it is first of all necessary to increase its loudness by the force of expiration (выдох). Other factors that make a syllable prominent are the lengthening of its vowel and some change of its pitch.

2. Word stress, its functions.

Word stress or lexical stress, is the relatively greater degree of prominence given to one or more syllables within a disyllabic or polysyllabic word. The remaining syllables of the word are less distinct and may be considered unstressed. Word stress is the significant feature determining the word shape. It is an additional means of the phonemic composition of the word.

Word stress has its own linguistic functions:

1. It determines the literary standard pronunciation of numerous polysyllabic words of the language, e. g. /lә'borәtәri/ but not /'læb(ә)rәtәri/ or the Russian "проц'ент" but not "пр'оцент".

2. It helps to distinguish different grammatical categories in many English words: e. g. "perfect" /'pз:fikt/ - noun, adjective and /pә'fekt/ - verb.

3. Word stress helps to distinguish different words of the same phonemic composition e. g. "violin" - /'vaiәlin/- химическое вещество, /vaiә'lin/ - скрипка and in Russian "мука" - "мука".

* 3. Types of word stress.

Languages differ from one another in the principle means by which the special prominence of speech sounds is achieved. Therefore types of word stress are distinguished according to the articulatory means by which it is produced.

Dynamic or expiratory (выдыхательный) stress is achieved by a greater force of pronunciation of a syllable.

Musical or pitch accent is found in words which syllables are uttered on different pitch levels. Both dynamic and musical stress may be found in Scandinavian languages. Chinese, Japanese, as well as some African languages have predominantly musical accent.

In some languages a syllable is made prominent due to the lengthening of its vowel. Such accent is called quantitative.

Torsuyev distinguished qualitative accent which means that the accented vowel is preserved unobscured (не редуцированный).

In European languages (Russian, English, German) the stress is predominantly dynamic.


4. Place of word stress.

In certain languages the place of word stress is fixed. In French it falls on the last syllable, in Czech /t∫ek/ (чешский) and Finnish - on the initial syllable, and in Polish - on the penultimate syllable. In Russian and in English the word stress is irregular; it is free and may fall on any syllable in a word.

5. Degree of word stress.

When a word pronounced in isolation has only one stressed syllable the prominence of such a syllable is obtained not only by its greater loudness and lengthening but also by some change in the pitch of the voice, usually the fall. Kingdon called such type of stress a kinetiс stress (strong or primary).

When a word has two stresses one of them must be kinetic, the other one is usually produced with the steady pitch of the voice on a high level throughout the duration of the whole syllable. This kind of stress may be called high level static. It occurs before kinetic stress and is usually defined as a pretonic or secondary stress. It is the second degree of stress observed in English words.

When static stress occurs after kinetic stress it sounds on the low level and is termed partial static stress or tertiary (третичное).

The majority of British phoneticians distinguish three degrees of word stress:

1. the strongest degree called primary stress;

2. the second strongest called secondary;

3. all the other degrees of stress called weak. 6. Sentence stress, its functions.

Sentence or syntactic stress may be defined as a complex of various degrees of prominence used within a sense-group to single out certain words according to their actual semantic value.

In sentence stress the modifications of the pitch component are much more significant than in word stress. The final word usually bears kinetic stress which indicates the communicative center of a sentence. But shifting kinetic stress to different words in a sentence the position of the communicative center is changed which results in the meaning of the sentence: e. g. Jack likes fish. In the given examples the distribution of stresses is determined by semantic factors. In word stress it is generally by the accentual rules of the language.

7. Reduction.

Sentence stress is closely related to word stress. These relations are observed in the modifications of word stress under the influence of sentence stress.

In a sentence all semantically important words may be stressed while all form words are usually unstressed. The loss of stress in these words usually results in their reduction. Unstressed varieties of this words show reductions of the length of sounds (quantitative reduction - /hi: - hi∙/), obscuration of vowels towards /ә/ or /i/ - qualitative reduction - /from - frәסm/ and the complete loss of vowels (complete reduction - /aim/). It is important to distinguish between


these cases of reduction in form words and those which have developed within the word shape as a result of the historical development of the language, e. g. "conduct" /'kondәkt - kәnd'٨ct/.

8. Stress and rhythm.

The utterance consists of a number of strong stresses or beats, the remaining syllables are weakly and rapidly articulated. The number of stressed syllables depends largely upon the nature of words composing the utterance.

Groups of strongly stressed syllables associated with unstressed syllables form units of rhythm called rhythmic groups. The prominent (stressed) syllable of the rhythmic group is usually called a nucleus or ictus (икт).

It is noticeable that in English there is a strong tendency to pronounce stressed words of an utterance at fairly equal intervals of time. As a result of this rhythmic tendency, the speed at which the unstressed syllables are uttered will depend upon the number occurring between the stressed syllables. All the unaccented syllables may not be pronounced with equal rapidity (скорость).

9. A sense-group.

In connected speech it is always possible to observe separate utterances which are distinctly separated from each other by short interruptions or pauses. Such units are generally called sense-groups.

A sense-group is defined as a word or several syntactically connected words expressing a single thought. The words are joined together by rhythm and melody.

Lecture # 5

Intonation.

Phonostylistics.

1. Definition of intonation.

Inspeech words are joined in the hierarchally highest language unit, namely the sentence. Pronounced in isolation without a context or life situation, words do not form sentences. They become sentences only when they are pronounced with a particular tone, loudness, duration and voice timbre.

Intonation is a linguistic category. It may be defined as a complex unity of the following components: speech melody, sentence stress, temporal characteristics (duration, pausation, tempo (ритм, темп) and rhythm) and timbre. Rhythm may be included in the definition of intonation as a complex of its own.

British and American phoneticians define intonation as variations in pitch excluding other components.

2. Perceptual features and acoustic properties of intonation.



Each component of intonation manifests itself in some particular perceptual features and acoustic properties.

Speech melody is perceived as variations of pitch. Pitch depends on the fundamental frequency (основная, собственная частота), (высота голосового диапазона), intensity (интенсивность) and duration.

The perceptual features of sentence stress are loudness, pitch and length. The chief acoustic property of loudness is the intensity of sounds.

The temporal component of intonation is recognized due to variations in length, its acoustic property is duration.

3. Functions of intonation.

In the process of communication intonation can convey different meanings; it can express the speaker's thoughts, emotions and feelings.

Intonation helps to organize sentences and to divide them into smaller units (sense-groups). It indicates the semantic centre of the sense-group. Intonation may be used as ameans for distinguishing different syntactical types of sentences (statements, questions, imperatives (повелительные предложения) and exclamations).

At the same time intonation may indicate the emotional attitude of the speaker towards reality and differentiate such communicative types as polite questions, friendly warnings, encouragements.

4. British theories of intonation.

There are two main approaches to the problem of intonation in the works of British phoneticians: the contour analysis (анализ контуров) and a grammatical approach. The majority of English phoneticians, such as Jones, Palmer and Crystal analyze intonation from the point of view of its contours.

In their analysis emphasis is laid on the attitudinal function of intonation. They treat intonation as a system of intonational units superimposed (накладываемый) on the lexico-grammatical structure. They distinguish the following tonetic units within a tone-group which is the smallest meaningful unit: prehead (начальный безударный слог предшествующий первому ударному), head (body, scale) (первый ударный слог), a nuclear (terminal) tone, range (диапазон) and level (уровень). Describing the form and function of these units they analyze and classify the types of intonation but not the types of the communicative message of an utterance. No attempt is made to relate intonation with other levels of linguistic description.

The second approach to the analysis of intonation is represented by Halliday. He pays special attention to the analysis of the syntactical function of intonation.

The starting point of the Halliday's analysis is the "clause" not a sentence, which is equivalent to a tone-group. .

According to Halliday's point of view intonation is a complex of three systemic variables: tonality (тональность), tonicity (тонус) and tone.


Tonality shows the division of an utterance into tone groups and marks their boundaries. Tonicity shows the placing of the tonic syllable and it is the location of informational points of each tone-group.

Tone may be divided into primary and secondary. Primary tone may be equated (приравнивается) with nuclear pitch movements. Secondary tone is similar to different types of head.

Tonality, tonicity and tone work interdependently.

Halliday does not disregard attitudinal function of intonation but he does not make any study of it.

5. The pitch component of intonation.

All components of intonation cannot be separated from one another as they function together in speech. But for the purposes of analysis it is possible to single out each component and investigate its functions.

Thus discussing speech melody it is necessary to distinguish between the role at the end of a sentence.

Speech melody manifests itself in the fact that syllables in a sense group are uttered with a certain pitch level and cannot exist without it. Some syllables in a sense group are pronounced with perceptible pitch movements from one hight to another. The syllables pronounced with a perceptible pitch movements usually occur at the end of a sense group thus delimiting it from the next sense group.

6. Terminal tone.

A change of pitch at the junction of two sense groups or sentences is called a terminal tone by Russian phoneticians and nucleus by British scientists. The number of different tones in a language will be the number of different kinds of pitch change that is possible to make on a single syllable of that language. Any pitch change that can occur on a single syllable must be regarded as a basic element of the intonation of the language. Analyzing these basic elements of intonation as well as any other section of a sense group it is necessary to investigate their form, their structure and then their meaning or function.

In English there may be distinguished simple terminal tones (the falling terminal tone, the rising terminal tone and the level terminal tone) and complex terminal tones (the rising-falling tone and the falling-rising tone).

The nuclear or stressed syllable of the terminal tone may be followed by some unstressed or partially stressed syllables to form a "tail" of the tone.

The simple tones are usually subdivided into high and low varieties which depend on the difference in pitch and range.

7. The functions of the falling terminal tone.

Of the three simple tones the falling terminal tone is affirmative and conclusive (подводящий итог). It is generally matter-of-fact, separative and assertive (утвердительный). It gives a felling of finality and definiteness to utterance in which it is used.

The low falling tone may be used in sentences with one prominent word. In such cases it usually conveys detachment (отстраненность),


coolness, dispassionateness, reserve and possible grimness (жестокость) on the part of the speaker.

The high wide falling tone, on the contrary, gives an impression of lightness and airiness. Very often it expresses warmth on the part of the speaker. It is very common in colloquial speech. The falling terminal tone may be used in categoric statements (answers to questions, announcements, retorts (возражения)), in special questions with implications (намеком), commands, general questions not requiring an answer and in exclamations.

The mid fall is generally calm and it conveys a neutral attitude. It is mostly used in the reading of descriptive texts and scientific prose.

The high narrow falling tone is non-categoric; it expresses non-finality and is generally used in non-final sense groups in descriptive texts and in poetry. In speech this terminal tone is used in non-categoric statements.

8. The functions of the rising terminal tone.

The rising terminal tone usually sounds interrogative (вопросительно), uncategoric, unfinished, reassuring and polite.

The low rise gives the utterance a perfunctory (небрежность) note. It expresses uncertainty, encouragement or politeness and often introduces a friendly atmosphere.

The low rising terminal tone is used in non-categoric statements implying doubt, hesitation or uncompleted thought. It is also used repeated special questions, in general questions, warnings and interrogative exclamations. Special questions pronounced with low rise sound wondering, friendly and reassuring, such questions are asked to children.

The high narrow rise is used in repeated special questions calling for the repetition of information already given.

The mid rising tone is used in general questions when the speaker displays genuine (подлинный) interest in obtaining the information requested.

The high wide rise usually expresses surprise, astonishment, disagreement, it is used in general questions, and exclamations.

9. The functions of the level terminal tone.

The level terminal tone usually implies continuation, non-finality, impassivity. It is used in reciting poems and in non-final sense-groups.

The high level terminal tone may occur in rhetorical questions or in highly emotional exclamations.

The mid level tone is typical of non-final sense-groups. It is mostly used in poetry, in author's words and in predicative clauses.

The low level tone expresses resignation (покорность), lack of spirit and impassivity (хладнокровие). It occurs in poetry and in speeches in church services.

10. Preheads.

The prehead of the sense group comprises all syllables which precede the first fully stressed syllable. The high prehead is the characteristic of emotional speech, it makes the utterance very expressive.


11. Scales.

The next section of a sense group is formed by the first fully stressed syllable which is called "onset" by Crystal and "head" by Palmer. It is pronounced at a distinctly high or low level. The first syllable or the head constitute the beginning of the scale or body. The scale is a variable tonal part of the sense-group stretching from and including the first stressed syllable but not including terminal tone.

12. Other components of intonation.

The sentence stress component of intonation is inseparably connected with speech melody; it manifests itself in sentence stress. In phonetic literature the following terms are widely used: "logical stress", "emphatic stress", "and rhythmic stress".

The main function of sentence stress is to differentiate the communicative centre in a sense-group. The communicative center is a word or group of words which convey the most important point of communication in the sense-group.

The temporal component of intonation manifests itself in duration of speech, in pauses and to some extent in rhythm.

The timbre component or voice quality is a mysterious phenomenon. Voice quality as Crystal writes may be understood as whisper, huskiness (хрипота) and other voice qualities. These qualities help to identify the speaker and to express the speaker's attitude.

13. Forms of language functioning.

Language functions in two forms - spoken and written. According to the nature of intercourse two forms of communication are generally singled out - monologue and dialogue, the first being a one-sided type of conversation and the latter a balanced one.

14. Definition of Phonostylistics.

Phonostylistics is concerned with the spoken form of a language and its phonetic styles. Phonostylistics is a new branch of phonetics the aim of which is the identification and description of different styles of pronunciation. Different ways of pronunciation caused by extralinguistic factors and characterized by definite phonetic features are called phonetic styles or styles ofpronunciation. These styles are related to social setting or circumstances in which language is used. A person speaks differently on different occasions: chatting at home or talking to his colleagues, addressing the audience or speaking over the radio.

15. Extralinguistic factors.

A lot of factors cause phonetic modifications in speech. Such factors as age, sex, personality traits, social status, occupation and the aim of speech, degree of speech preparedness, the number of participants involved in communication, social and psychological factors.


16. Functional styles and phonetic styles.

One of the objectives of Phonostylistics is to study intonational peculiarities of different functional styles - reading descriptive and scientific prose, newspapers drama, poems and spontaneous speech.

The analysis of the relationship between phonetic styles of spoken English and functional styles of written English reveals that there is an obvious interconnection between them which makes the problem of the classification of phonetic styles very complicated.

17. Classification of phonetic styles.

Among Russian linguists Shcherba was one of the first scientists to analyze and describe two phonetic styles: the full style, used in deliberately careful speech and the colloquial style used in ordinary conversations.

Russian phoneticians such as Avanesov and Bulanin distinguish three styles of pronunciation:

1. the full style, used when speaking officially

2. or reading aloud,

3. the neutral style used in rapid careless speech.

Jones distinguishes five styles: the rapid familiar style, the slower colloquial style, the neutral style, used in addressing the audience, the acquired style of the stage, the acquired style used in singing.




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