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Are native speakers concerned with stresses on words when speaking? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2018 1:10:57 AM
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Joined: 7/4/2012
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In every English word with more than one syllable, there is a stress on one syllable. I wonder whether native speakers are concerned with such stresses when speaking.

Thanks.
sportsherald
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2018 1:38:51 AM

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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Yes, of course. As with other languages, stressing a syllable other than the expected one would at the very least distract and confuse the listener, and may fail altogether to convey the meaning. This is part of the problem for both the non-native speaker and the native listener, that can result in responses like, "I can't understand your foreign accent." Some words even shift in their meaning when different syllables are stressed, like CONtent for describing the parts of something, and a happy person feeling conTENT.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2018 4:16:25 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Bear in mind that everyone who learns to speak does so from listening - long before they can read.

So if one hears a word i.e. "con-TENT" one just hears two different sounds said in a certain way and knows that means happy.
If they hear a word "CON-tent" they have no idea it's spelt the same way, because what they're hearing means something completely different to any other word they've heard.

It is the *sound* of the word that gives it meaning; so if it's said differently it becomes unrecognisable. As Sportsherald says, this is one of the biggest difficulties between native listener and non-native speaker and makes communication very difficult. This is why we're always advising learners to *listen* to English being spoken - on the radio, in movies, news broadcasts, etc - because the way we speak any language is the difference between being understood or not.
Peter O'Connor - Dundalk
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2018 6:20:48 AM

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Joined: 10/20/2014
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Location: Lismore, Munster, Ireland
We in Ireland literally pull our hair out when Americans (mostly US) mangle Irish names by stressing the wrong letter or syllable d'oh! but what's even worse in now some Irish persons are using Americanisms emphasising the 'h' in words/names when in Irish/Gaelic it's silent and suppresses consonants around it. Pray
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