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2.3.2. 重音(Stress)

当一个词汇由一个以上的音节构成之时,其中的某个音节可能带有重音(stress),在音标中使用 ˈ 作为标记。

When a word contains more than one syllable, one of those syllables may carry the stress, marked by ˈ in phonetic notation.

一个多音节词汇中,最多只有一个重音音节,但,可能还有另外一些音节是次重音secondary stress),在音标中使用 ˌ 作为标记。比如,serendipity ˌserənˈdɪpət̬i,有一个重音和一个次重音。而 Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis 总计有 19 个音节,其中 7 个是次重音,唯一的重音是 ……

In a multisyllabic word, there is only one syllable with primary stress. However, there may be other syllables with secondary stress, marked by ˌ in phonetic notation. For instance, serendipity ˌserənˈdɪpət̬i has one primary stress and one secondary stress. On the other hand, the word Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis consists of 19 syllables in total, with 7 carrying secondary stress and the sole primary stress falling on .

在学习英文的时候,亚洲人特别需要注意的是,要从心理上纠正一个对应关系,“英文音节 - 字”,而不是 “英文单词 - 字” —— 亚洲文字,无论是中文、日文还是韩文,所有的字都是单音节构成。

What Asian learners of English must be especially mindful of is to mentally correct the correlation from "English syllable - Asian Character" instead of "English word - Asian Character". This is because all characters in Asian languages, whether Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, are composed of single syllables.

individual ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl 这一个单词,总计 5 个音节,即,相当于 5 个汉字的长度…… 对比以下句子的音节数量:

The word individual ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl has a total of 5 syllables, which is equivalent to the length of 5 Chinese characters. Consider the comparison between the number of syllables in the following sentences

  • 人们看法各不相同。[Rénmen kànfǎ gè bù xiāngtóng] —— 总计 8 个字,8 个音节。
  • 人们看法各不相同。[Rénmen kànfǎ gè bù xiāngtóng] - 8 characters in Chinese, 8 syllables.
  • People's opinions vary from individual to individual. ˈpiːpəlz əˈpɪnjənz ˈveri frɑːm ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl tuː ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl —— 总计 7 个单词yar,19 个音节。
  • People's opinions vary from individual to individual. ˈpiːpəlz əˈpɪnjənz ˈveri frɑːm ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl tuː ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl - 7 words in English, 19 syllables.

这个对应关系的纠正很重要,因为这个对应关系在最底层影响连贯声音的理解方式。

Recognizing this correlation is crucial as it fundamentally affects how we comprehend the flow of sounds in a sentence.

另外一个重点在于,英文的音节有重音次重音非重音的区别,这一点也和亚洲语言明显不同。

Another crucial point is that English syllables have varying degrees of stress: primary stress, secondary stress, and the unstressed, which is noticeably different from Asian languages.

5 个汉字(或者日文字、韩文字)排在一起大概是这样的:

When 5 Chinese characters (or Japanese or Korean characters) are lined up, it might look like this:

5-chars

但,由 5 个音节构成的词汇 individual 相应应该是这样的:

However, the word individual, which is composed of 5 syllables, would likely be represented like this:

5-syllables

英语里除了重音次重音非重音之外,还有弱音,比如被弱化成 əschwa

In English, in addition to primary stress, secondary stress, and unstressed syllables, we also have weakly pronounced syllables, like the schwa (ə) sound that occurs when syllables are reduced.

细细体会 individual ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl 这个词,如果每个音节都清晰地用同样的强度读出来的话,应该是 ɪn-dɪ-vɪ-dʒju-əl…… 这里面,第 2 个音节 里的元音 ɪ 被弱化为 ə;另外,第 4 个音节 dʒu 里的元音 ju 也被弱化成了 ə,但保留了 u 的音色;而处于音节末尾的 l,之前自带着轻微的 ə,于是连成了很轻的 wᵊl……

Let's dig deep into the word individual, for example, it's pronounced as ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl. If each syllable was placed equal stress, it would sound something like /ɪn-dɪ-vɪ-dʒju-əl/... Within this pronunciation, the vowel ɪ in the second syllable is reduced to the schwa sound, ə; likewise, the vowel ju in the fourth syllable dʒu is also reduced to ə, but retains the coloration of u. The l at the end of the syllable, which originally carries a slight ə sound, thus becomes a very light wᵊl...

5-syllables-individual

英文的元音有长短之分。需要注意的是:当一个短元音构成的音节重音的时候,该音节会自然而然读得更长一些,比如 city 或者 silly 之中的第一个重音音节 ˈsɪ —— 可能是因为 s 音拉得更长;再比如,Thanks, I owe you a big one. 这句话里的 big —— 可能是因为 bɪg 这个词(音节)的音调(pitch, 2.5.1)拉高,或者干脆是 ɪ 这个短元音拉长……

In English, vowel sounds can vary in length. It's interesting to note that when a syllable with a short vowel sound is stressed, it's naturally pronounced a bit longer. For example, the first stressed syllable in words like city or silly, ˈsɪ may be extended due to the drawn-out s sound. Similarly, the word big in the sentence "Thanks, I owe you a big one," may be elongated because the pitch of the syllable bɪg is raised or simply because the short vowel ɪ is stretched out.

有些时候,同样的词汇,因重音位置不同会产生词义词性的变化。比如,address, ˈædres 是名词,“地址”;əˈdres 是动词,“强调”;再比如,record,可以读作 ˈrekɚdrɪˈkɔːrd,前者是名词,后者是动词。

At times, the same word can bear different meanings or parts of speech due to the varying placement of the stress. For example, the word address when pronounced as ˈæˌdres is a noun, meaning place of residence. However, when pronounced as əˈdres, it is a verb, indicating to highlight or bring attention to. And record can be pronounced as ˈrekɚd or rɪˈkɔːrd. The former is a noun, while the latter is a verb.

类似的还有很多,比如以下常见词汇[1]

Note, the same word, when pronounced with stress on different syllables, can change its part of speech. Consider the following common words as examples:

NounVerb
'conduct ˈkɑːndʌkt con'duct kənˈdʌkt
'conflict ˈkɑːnflɪktcon'flict kənˈflɪkt
'convert ˈkɑːnvɝːtcon'vert kənˈvɝːt
'digest ˈdaɪdʒestdi'gest daɪˈdʒest
'permit ˈpɝːmɪtper'mit pɚˈmɪt
'rebel ˈrebəlre'bel rɪˈbel
'subject ˈsʌbdʒektsub'ject səbˈdʒekt

在随后的章节里我们会涉及到重音音节的另外一个重点 —— 音调(tone2.5.2)。

In the upcoming sections, we'll be covering another important aspect of stressed syllables — tone (2.5.2).

不妨逐个练习一下以下常用多音节词汇,注意重音次重音,以及非重音弱音 əschwa):

Let's practice the pronunciation of the following commonly used multi-syllable words one by one. Pay attention to the primary stress, secondary stress, as well as unstressed, or weak ə (schwa) sounds:

  • accommodate əˈkɑːmədeɪt
  • anniversary ˌænəˈvɝːsɚi
  • anticipate ænˈtɪsəpeɪt
  • appreciate əˈpriːʃieɪt
  • beautiful ˈbjuːt̬əfəl
  • celebration ˌseləˈbreɪʃən
  • characteristic ˌkerəktəˈrɪstɪk
  • communication kəˌmjuːnəˈkeɪʃən
  • determination dɪˌtɝːmɪˈneɪʃən
  • discovery dɪˈskʌvɚi
  • encouragement ɪnˈkɝːɪdʒmənt
  • entrepreneur ˌɑːntrəprəˈnɝː
  • environment ɪnˈvaɪrənmənt
  • exaggerate ɪɡˈzædʒəreɪt
  • examination ɪɡˌzæməˈneɪʃən
  • explanation ˌekspləˈneɪʃən
  • fascinating ˈfæsəneɪtɪŋ
  • government ˈɡʌvɚnmənt
  • hospitality ˌhɑːspɪˈtælət̬i
  • imagination ɪˌmædʒəˈneɪʃən
  • impossible ɪmˈpɑːsəbəl
  • incredible ɪnˈkredəbəl
  • independent ˌɪndɪˈpendənt
  • information ˌɪnfɚˈmeɪʃən
  • inspiration ˌɪnspəˈreɪʃən
  • interesting ˈɪntrɪstɪŋ
  • international ˌɪnt̬ɚˈnæʃənəl
  • knowledgeable ˈnɑːlɪdʒəbəl
  • opportunity ˌɑːpɚˈtuːnət̬i
  • personality ˌpɝːsənˈælət̬i
  • photography fəˈtɑːɡrəfi
  • professional prəˈfeʃənəl
  • recognition ˌrekəɡˈnɪʃən
  • rehabilitation ˌriːhəˌbɪləˈteɪʃən
  • relationship rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪp
  • responsibility rɪˌspɑːnsəˈbɪlət̬i
  • revolutionary ˌrevəˈluːʃəneri
  • satisfaction ˌsæt̬ɪsˈfækʃən
  • spectacular spekˈtækjəlɚ
  • temperature ˈtempɚətʃɚ
  • transportation ˌtrænspɚˈteɪʃən
  • unbelievable ˌʌnbɪˈliːvəbəl
  • understand ˌʌndɚˈstænd
  • understanding ˌʌndɚˈstændɪŋ
  • unforgettable ˌʌnfɚˈɡet̬əbəl
  • university ˌjuːnəˈvɝːsət̬i
  • vegetarian ˌvedʒəˈteriən
  • vocabulary voʊˈkæbjəleri
  • vulnerable ˈvʌlnɚəbəl
  • wonderfully ˈwʌndɚfəli

  1. Sound files in this list come from CEPD online edition. ↩︎