Introduction to Word Stress
Let's get started talking about the basic terms that you'll need to understand in order to consistently produce word stress.
First of all, what do we mean by stress?
Stress is when we make one syllable longer, louder and higher in pitch.
But before we talk too much about these different elements, let's talk about what we mean by a syllable.
We generally talk about syllables as one beat of a word, and all of these syllables have a vowel sound in them.
So you may have a one syllable word, two syllable word, three syllable word, four syllable word, five syllable words, six syllable word, and multiple syllable words even longer than that!
Each of these syllables is going to have a particular way that it's pronounced.
Every word has a stressed syllable, even one syllable words.
And when we mean by stress is that one syllable is going to be longer, louder and higher in pitch.
In order to produce the natural rhythm of English, all of these three elements need to work together: longer, louder and higher in pitch.
In other languages, the syllables are more important than the stress, so each of the syllables has the exact same length.
But the rhythm of English is produced by emphasizing certain syllables more than others. This is what we call a stress-timed language.
Think for yourself whether your language is a syllable-timed language or a stress-timed language.
Spanish, for example, is a syllable-timed language. All of the syllables are more or less the same length.
But English is a stress-timed language, which means, like I said, some syllables are longer, louder and higher in pitch.
Because syllables and stress work differently in different languages, you may have some sort of interference from your native language that keeps you from sounding natural in English.
Through these exercises, we're really going to practice how to make a syllable longer, louder and higher in pitch: longer, louder and higher in pitch.
We're going to practice all three elements so that you'll be able to more consistently produce word stress on the most important words in your sentence.
Go through the videos step by step, and they’re going to help you understand how you can build more confidence with word stress, start practicing word stress, and more consistently produce word stress.
Remember, if you've been saying words wrong over a number of years, it can be hard to undo these patterns. That's what this course is designed to help you with.
We're going to help you get those stress patterns correct, understand how to emphasize the key parts of your sentence and really consistently produce stress.
We start with word and sentence stress because you need both of these in order to consistently produce intonation patterns and link words together in connected speech.
Mastering word stress and mastering sentence stress is the essential foundation of reducing your accent in English.
You'll notice when you start producing stress patterns more consistently, people will understand you and you will feel more confident when speaking because you know that you're saying things correctly.
Word stress is more important than pronouncing every single consonant and vowel correctly.
It's the essential element that gives English its natural rhythm and its natural music. So let's get started.