Some problems of accentual structure in English (43389)

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The Eurasian Academy

Institute “Eurasia”













Course paper

Some problems of accentual structure in English”



Pocheikina J.A.

(325 group)

Speciality: 050207 Interpreting

Discipline: Foundations of the theory of the

studied language.

Theoretical phonetics

The scientific supervisor

Senior teacher Buzhumova P.Z.




Uralsk-2010


Contents:


Introduction

Chapter I. English stress as a phenomenon

1.1 The nature of word stress and prominence

1.2 The placement of word stress

Chapter II. The questions of typology of accentual structure

2.1 Degrees of stress and rhythmical tendency

2.2 Functional aspects of word stress

2.3 Practical analysis showing the types of stress

Conclusion

List of literature



Introduction


In this course paper we shall treat some problems of accentual structure. . According to D.Crystal the terms "heaviness, sound pressure, force, power, strength, intensity, amplitude, prominence, emphasis, accent, stress" tend to be used synonymously by most writers. According to G.P. Torsuev the notions “stressed” and “prominent” should not be used synonymically. The effect of prominence is created by some phonetic features of sounds which have nothing to do with word or sentence stress.

RI.Avanesov considers the variability in the placement of the Russian word stress an individual sign of every particular word which presents a difficulty for foreign learners and sometimes for the natives. It is interesting to note that Russian word stress may have stylistic distinction and poetic usage, cf. молодéцмóлодец, девúца - дéвица, шéлковыйшелкóвый.

In chapter I. we shall regard to English stress. It is common knowledge that sounds of speech have different degrees of sonority. Vowels are more sonorous than consonants. Open vowels are more sonorous than close ones. The quantitative, and qualitative components of word stress they are also significant.

In the point 1.1. we shall say about tha nature of word stress and prominence. According to A.C.Gimson, the effect of prominence is achieved by any or all of four factors: force, tone, length and vowel colour.

In the point 1.2. we shall consider the placement of word stress. The word siress in English as well as in Russian is not only free but it may also be shifting, performing the semantic function of differentiating lexical units, parts of speech, grammatical forms.

In chapter II. We shall pay attention to the question of typology of accentual structure.

According G.Torsuev Accentual types and accentual structures are closely connected with the morphological type of words, with the number of syllables, the semantic value of the root and the prefix of the word.

In the point 2.1. we shall to point out degrees of stress and rhythmical tendency. The accentual structure of English words is liable to instability due to the different origin of several layers in the Modern English wordstock. In Germanic languages the word stress originally fell on the initial syllable or the second syllable, the root syllable in the English words with prefixes. This tendency was called recessive.

The aim: to analyse the opinions, poins of view of phoneticians to accentual structure.

Tasks: 1) To give the definitions of word stress

2) To sigle out the nature of word stress and prominence

3) To study the degrees of word accent.



Chapter I. English stress as a phenomenon


It is common knowledge that sounds of speech have different degrees of sonority. Vowels are more sonorous than consonants. Open vowels are more sonorous than close ones. The quantitative, and qualitative components of word stress they are also significant. Certain distinctions of the vowel length and colour are reduced or lacking in unstressed syllables^ The fact .strengthens the idea that the accentuation is influenced by the vowel length and, quality. The vowel of the stressed syllable is perceived as never reduced or obscure and longer than the same vowel in the unstressed syllables. Thus, the word "stress" or "accent" is also defined as qualitative where the vowel colour or qualily is a means of stress and quantitative with relatively increased length of the stressed vowel. Compare the quality (colour) and quantity (length) of the same vowel in a word, e.g. ab'stract, 'car-park; идú, úли, yмý.

It is fair to mention that there is a terminological confusion in discussing the nature of stress. According to D.Crystal the terms "heaviness, sound pressure, force, power, strength, intensity, amplitude, prominence, emphasis, accent, stress" tend to be used synonymously by most writers. The discrepancy in terminology is largely due to the fact that there are two major views depending on whether the productive or receptive aspects of stress are discussed. The main drawback with any theory of stress based on production of speech is that it only gives an explanation of the phenomenon but does not analyse it on the perceptive level. Instrumental investigations study the physical 'nature of word stress.


1.1 The nature of word stress and prominence


It would be perfectly natural to begin this section with the nature of word stress. According to A.C.Gimson, the effect of prominence is achieved by any or all of four factors: force, tone, length and vowel colour. The dynamic stress implies greater force with which the syllable is pronounced. In other words in the articulation of the stressed syllable greater muscular energy is produced by the speaker. European languages such as English, German, French, Russian are believed to possess predominantly dynamic word stress. In Scandinavian languages the word stress is considered to be both dynamic and musical. For instance, in Swedish, the word komma (comma) is distinguished from the word komma (come) by a difference in tones. The musical word stress is observed in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese. It is effected by the variations of voice pitch in relation to napghbouring syllables.

We would like to dwell on the term prominence here. It seems to cause some ambiguity when related to word stress. The stressed syllables are often said to be the most prominent syllables in the word. According to G.P. Torsuev the notions “stressed” and “prominent” should not be used synonymically. The effect of prominence is created by some phonetic features of sounds which have nothing to do with word or sentence stress. Sonority is the inner quality of vowels which is not directly connected with the accentual structure of words but with other articularoty characteristics, it contributes to the effect of prominence.

Another characteristic of a vowel which also adds to the effect of prominence but is not connected with the word stress is historical (traditional) length of vowels.

The presence of a traditionally long sound in the stressed syllable and a traditionally short vowel in the unstressed syllable adds to the effect of the prominence of the stressed syllable, e.g. [in’kri:s], [bi’li:v], [‘i:zi].

Naturally the historical length of vowels is the vowel inner quality which should not be mixed with the quantitative characteristics of word stress.

To sum it up prominence in speech is a broader term than stress. It is obtained by the components of word stress, such as the loudness, the length, the quality of the vowel plus the inherent sonority of the vowel and its historical length.

Let us turn to some examples. If the words 'import (n) and im'port (v) are said on a level tone and each vowel with its own length, it is rather difficult to distinguish them. The tonic or musical component may be helpful in defining the place of stress in a word as it is observed within the syllable marked by the pitch change, which contributes to the syllable prominence.

'Import. _ Im'port.

The placement of the pitch change marks the seat of the stress. It should be noted here that the very type of pitch change, its direction, does not influence the word stress, e.g.

'Import. ___ 'Import?

The pitch direction is changed but the stress remains unchanged.

On the other hand, a whole idea may be conveyed by uttering, a single word (one-word phrase}. Then we shall deal with the sentence; stress and the musical component of intonation.

There is undoubtedly a close interrelation between word stress
and sentence stress.

The nature of word stress, the interrelation of its components is still a problem which is awaiting its solution.

On the acoustic level the counterpart of force is the intensity of the vibrations of the vocal cords of the speaker which is perceived by the listener as loudness.

Thus the greater energy with which the speaker articulates the stressed; syllable in the word is associated by the listener With greater
loudness. The acoustic counterparts of voice pitch and length, are frequency and duration, respectively.

The nature of word stress in Russian seems to differ from that in English. The quantitative component plays a greater role in Russian accentual structure than in English word accent.

In the Russian language we never pronounce vowels of full formation and full length in unstressed positions, they are always reduced. Therefore the vowels of full length are unmistakably perceived as stressed. In English the quantitative component of word stress is not of primary importance because of the nonreduced vowels in the unstressed syllables which sometimes occur in English words, e.g 'architect, 'transport, 'partake,



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