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ENGLISH AND PORTUGUESE WORD STRESS

ACENTUAO TNICA DE PALAVRAS


Just as stressed syllables in poetry reveal the metrical structure of the verse, phonological stress patterns relate to the metrical structure of a language. (Victoria Fromkin, 239) Acentuao tnica uma parte importante da pronncia. Alguns idiomas so marcadamente caracterizados pela acentuao tnica predominante das palavras. o caso, por exemplo, do francs, no qual uma forte maioria de palavras oxtona (lal, lalal, lalalal, lalal, ...). Do ponto de vista daquele que fala portugus como lngua me, cujas palavras so predominantemente paroxtonas (cerca de 70%) e muitas das que no so tm sinalizao ortogrfica indicativa, a acentuao tnica do ingls representa um srio problema, devido ao nmero maior de possibilidades, no ocorrncia de um modelo de acentuao tnica predominante e ausncia de sinalizao ortogrfica. Veja os exemplos abaixo: Word stress is an important part of pronunciation. Some languages are heavily characterized by the way words are normally stressed. This the case of French, where a very large majority of words are stressed on the last syllable (lal, lalal, lalalal, lalal, ...). From the standpoint of the native speaker of Portuguese, whose words are predominantly (around 70%) paroxytone (stress on the syllable before the last), English word stress poses a problem because of the larger number of possibilities, the nonoccurrence of one predominant pattern, and the absence of indication in spelling. See the examples below:

PORTUGUESE oxtonas (stress on the last syllable) paroxtonas (stress on one before the last) proparoxtonas (stress on two before the last) stress on three before the last double stress caf, estudar, computador, refrigerador, etc. casa, modelo, Ipanema, comemorava, etc, fgado, metrpole, hemoflico, etc.

ENGLISH hotel, control, police, improve, exchange, etc. (only two-syllable words) video, English, important, united, revolution, etc. excellent, hospital, government, photograph, photographer, etc. approximately, significantly, intelligible, objectionable, etc. approximation, refrigerator,

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characteristic, category, necessary, dictionary, fundamental, introductory, overnight, Vietnamese, etc. Esta imprevisibilidade do acento tnico da palavra em ingls se constitui em mais um argumento contra o contato prematuro com textos escritos no ensino de ingls como lngua estrangeira no Brasil. This unpredictability of word stress in English is one more argument against early contact with the written text in the teaching of English in Brazil.

Regras de acentuao tnica em ingls


No portugus, determinados sufixos caracterizam determinados tipos de acentuao tnica. Ex: estudar, escrever, dormir, estudou, escreveu, dormiu, computador, professor, jogador, astral, avental, imoral. Da mesma forma, existem em ingls algumas regras que definem a correlao entre ortografia e acentuao tnica de alguns tipos de palavras, as quais podem ser teis ao aluno iniciante que tem pouca familiaridade com a lngua falada. A) Palavras terminadas em _sion e _tion: o acento tnico recai sobre a slaba imediatamente anterior a esse sufixo. A palavra portanto ser sempre paroxtona.

English word-stress rules


Certain suffixes in Portuguese indicate the stressed syllable. Ex: estudar, escrever, dormir, estudou, escreveu, dormiu, computador, professor, jogador, astral, avental, imoral. The same way, in English there are useful spelling-to-sound rules that when presented to students can provide a light at the end of the tunnel.

A) Words that end in _sion, _tion: stress is on the syllable before this ending (1 syllable before the last).

Ex: illusion, television, solution, satisfaction.

B) Palavras terminadas em _ic: o acento tnico recai sobre a slaba imediatamente anterior a esse sufixo. A palavra portanto ser sempre paroxtona.

B) Words ending in _ic: stress the syllable before this ending (1 syllable before the last).

Ex: unrealistic, static, fabric.

C) Palavras terminadas em _ial: o acento tnico recai sobre a slaba imediatamente anterior a esse sufixo. A palavra portanto ser sempre paroxtona.

C) Words ending in _ial: stress the syllable before this ending (1 syllable before the last).

Ex: official, artificial, confidential.

D) Palavras terminadas em _ially sero sempre proparoxtonas.

D) Words ending in _ially: stress the syllable before this ending (2nd syllable before the last).

Ex: officially, essentially, basically.

E) Palavras terminadas em _ical sero sempre proparoxtonas.

E) Words ending in _ical: stress the syllable before this ending (2nd syllable before the last).

Ex: economical, practical, political.

F) Palavras terminadas em _cy e _ty sero sempre proparoxtonas.

F) Words ending in _cy, _ty: stress is on the 2nd syllable before this ending.

Ex: democracy, loyalty, agency, activity.

G) Verbos compostos com os prefixos over_ ou under_ tm sempre tonicidade dupla, e normalmente levam o acento tnico primrio numa das slabas aps o prefixo.

G) Compound verbs with prefix over_ or under_: they always have double stress, and the primary stress is normally on one of the syllables which follow the prefix.

Ex: overgrow, overheat, overlook, oversleep, underestimate, undergo, understand.

Understanding Syllables
To understand word stress, it helps to understand syllables. Every word is made from syllables. Each word has one, two, three or more syllables. word dog green quite dog green quite number of syllables 1 1 1

quiet orange table expensive interesting realistic

qui-et or-ange ta-ble ex-pen-sive in-ter-est-ing re-al-is-tic

2 2 2 3 4 4

unexceptional un-ex-cep-tion-al 5 Notice that (with a few rare exceptions) every syllable contains at least one vowel (a, e, i, o or u) or vowel sound.

Where do I Put Word Stress?


There are some rules about which syllable to stress. But...the rules are rather complicated! Probably the best way to learn is from experience. Listen carefully to spoken English and try to develop a feeling for the "music" of the language. When you learn a new word, you should also learn its stress pattern. If you keep a vocabulary book, make a note to show which syllable is stressed. If you do not know, you can look in a dictionary. All dictionaries give the phonetic spelling of a word. This is where they show which syllable is stressed, usually with an apostrophe (') just before or just after the stressed syllable. (The notes at the front of the dictionary will explain the system used.) Look at (and listen to) this example for the word plastic. There are 2 syllables. Syllable #1 is stressed. example phonetic spelling: phonetic spelling: dictionary A dictionary B

PLAS TIC /pls'tIk/ /'pls tIk/

Rules of Word Stress in English


There are two very simple rules about word stress: 1. One word has only one stress. (One word cannot have two stresses. If you hear two stresses, you hear two words. Two stresses cannot be one word. It is true that there can be

a "secondary" stress in some words. But a secondary stress is much smaller than the main [primary] stress, and is only used in long words.) 2. We can only stress vowels, not consonants.

Here are some more, rather complicated, rules that can help you understand where to put the stress. But do not rely on them too much, because there are many exceptions. It is better to try to "feel" the music of the language and to add the stress naturally. 1 Stress on first syllable rule Most 2-syllable nouns example PRESent, EXport, CHIna, TAble

Most 2-syllable adjectives PRESent, SLENder, CLEVer, HAPpy 2 Stress on last syllable rule example

Most 2-syllable verbs to preSENT, to exPORT, to deCIDE, to beGIN There are many two-syllable words in English whose meaning and class change with a change in stress. The word present, for example is a two-syllable word. If we stress the first syllable, it is a noun (gift) or an adjective (opposite of absent). But if we stress the second syllable, it becomes a verb (to offer). More examples: the words export, import, contract and object can all be nouns or verbs depending on whether the stress is on the first or second syllable. 3 Stress on penultimate syllable (penultimate = second from end) rule Words ending in -ic example GRAPHic, geoGRAPHic, geoLOGic

Words ending in -sion and -tion teleVIsion, reveLAtion For a few words, native English speakers don't always "agree" on where to put the stress. For example, some people say teleVIsion and others say TELevision. Another example is: CONtroversy and conTROversy. 4 Stress on ante-penultimate syllable (ante-penultimate = third from end)

rule

example

Words ending in -cy, -ty, -phy and -gy deMOcracy, dependaBIlity, phoTOgraphy, geOLogy Words ending in -al CRItical, geoLOGical

5 Compound words (words with two parts) rule For compound nouns, the stress is on the first part example BLACKbird, GREENhouse

For compound adjectives, the stress is on the second part bad-TEMpered, old-FASHioned For compound verbs, the stress is on the second part to underSTAND, to overFLOW