Intonation In English: Nouns And Adjectives Are Stressed
Differently Than Verbs
Listen and Learn: Nouns and Adjectives one way; Verbs another
Chinese has "tones" but all languages have their own special
intonation. The "music" of a language is its intonation and it
is perhaps the most important element of a correct accent.
A "ggod" accent is not only a question of good pronunciation.
Many people think that pronunciation is what makes up an accent.
It may be that pronunciation is very important for an
understandable accent. But it is intonation that gives the final
touch that makes an accent correct or native. Often we hear
someone speaking with perfect grammar, and perfect formation of
the sounds of English but with a little something that gives her
away as not being a native speaker. Therefore, it is necessary
to realize that there are three components to an accent,
pronunciation, intonation, and linking. In other places we will
examine pronunciation, the proper formation of vowels and
consonants, and linking, the way that syllables within a word,
and the beginning and ending of words come together.
But what interests us now is the issue of intonation, and in
particular the difference in intonation of nouns and adjusctives
on the one hand, and the intonation of verbs on the other. A
review of this gives us a perfect example of how meaning affects
Noun/Adjective and Verb
In other articles, we saw: that verbs of two syllables often
have the stress on the second syllable, while the related noun
has the stress on the first syllable. We also saw that
expressiones of two words are stressed differently according to
their meaning. This article, along with the others, is an
example of the effect that meaning has on intonation in English.
Many native speakers do not realize that the "rule" of this
section is pretty rigorous. To know it can help you in building
your vocabulary at the same time that you perfect your
intonation. Even native speakers can profit from being more
precise in the intonation of their English. This is another
intonation pattern that you must master. Verbs ending in the
letters "ate" pronounce the letter "a" of the last syllable with
the "long a" sound (the name of the letter "a", the sound of the
words steak and make). Related nouns or adjectives pronounce the
letter "a" of the last syllable with the indefinite schwa sound
(the sound of the "a" of the word about, or the second "e" in
the word elephant) For each word, indicate that you know the
difference between the two uses of the same word (by "same" we
mean having the same spelling.) First, give a brief meaning of
the word used as noun or adjective and put the letter "I" to
indicate that the final letter "a" is the indefinite sound of
the "a" in about. Next, give a brief meaning of the word used as
a verb and put the letter "A" to indicate that the final letter
"a" is the sound of the "long a" of the word make.
I start the exercise with two examples, the words alternate and
appropriate. I have indicated the stress with CAPITAL LETTERS.
You underline the syllable that is stressed, and write a brief
explanation to indicate that you understand the difference. You
do the rest of the table. And make sure you pronounce the words
OUT LOUD. alternate I Noun: A substitute
alternate A Verb: To take turns.
appropriate I Adjective: correct or suitable Appropriate A Verb:
To take over.
Now, you do the rest of the table, underlinging the accented
syllable and defining the word to emphasize your understanding
that the accent goes with the meaning.
approximate, to approximate articulate, to articulate associate,
to associate deliberate, to deliberate duplicate, to duplicate
laminate, to laminate graduate, to graduate intimate, to
intimate moderate, to moderate predicate, to predicate
precipate, to precipate
Practice on the following sentences that contain some of the
words of the list used buth as noun or adjective, and as verb.
Underline the accent and read the sentences out loud
The facilitator wanted to separate the general topic into
separate categories Would you care to elaborate on his elaborate
explanation? Have you heard that your associate is known to
associate with gangsters? How much do you estimate that the
estimate will be?
Look for other articles on this same subject by searching for
the word "intonation"!