2. Stressed and Unstressed Syllables in Connected Speech

In connected speech, native speakers often modify the stress patterns of syllables to maintain natural rhythm and flow. Stressed syllables are pronounced with greater emphasis, while unstressed syllables receive less emphasis. This rhythmic alteration can impact the overall meaning and perception of a sentence. Consider the following examples:

Stressed and Unstressed Syllables:

  • Word: “banana”
    • Stressed syllable: ba-NA-na
    • Unstressed syllables: ba-NA-na
  • Word: “interesting”
    • Stressed syllable: IN-ter-est-ing
    • Unstressed syllables: IN-ter-est-ing

Connected Speech Examples:

  1. “I am going to the store.”
    • Natural Stress: I am GO-ing to the STORE.
    • Altered Stress: I’M GO-ing to the STO-re.
  2. “Have you eaten yet?”
    • Natural Stress: Have YOU EA-ten YET?
    • Altered Stress: HA-ve YOU ea-TEN yet?

In the first example, the natural stress pattern flows smoothly, while the altered stress pattern feels disjointed and less natural. This demonstrates how stress plays a crucial role in conveying intended meaning and maintaining the natural rhythm of speech.

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