By Fasold R., Connor-Linton J.
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Additional info for An Introduction to Language and Linguistics
The third syllable [bQ] is the most prominent, and bears the main or primary stress of the word, but the other three syllables do not receive equal stress. The first syllable has a full vowel quality [Q], though it is not quite as long or loud as the third, but the second and fourth syllables are short and weak, with the tongue not moving far from its central position. We say that the first syllable has secondary stress, while the second and fourth are completely unstressed. Some languages do not use stress at all.
But put the word next to one that begins with a strongly stressed syllable, and stress may shift back in order to maintain an alternating pattern (How long have you worked here? ) Linguists refer to a grouping of a stressed syllable and adjacent unstressed syllables as a foot. Choosing different kinds of feet (da-DUM vs. DA-dum) is important not only in poetry, but as part of defining a language’s unfolding rhythm of speech. qxd 1/10/06 5:21 PM Page 32 pinnacle Raj01:Desktop Folder:CUUK414-fasold-sushil: 32 The sounds of language Languages in which stress is completely predictable are called fixed stress systems.
The tense vowels [i, e, o, u] are longer, slightly higher, and produced with greater stiffening of the tongue root than their lax counterparts [I, E, ç, U]. The tense/lax distinction doesn’t really apply to low vowels. These descriptive terms can be combined to pick out a specific vowel: [I] is high, front, lax, unround; [o] is mid, back, tense, round. Another sort of vowel is a diphthong, which combines two different positions in sequence. The diphthong [ai], as in General American high, moves from a low central position to high front.
An Introduction to Language and Linguistics by Fasold R., Connor-Linton J.