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2.5. 轻重(Emphasis)

自然语音中,不可能每个词汇都被用同样轻重的方式读出来 —— 总是有些词被强调,而另外一些词读的相对较轻。

In natural speech, not every word is pronounced with the same emphasis. Some words are stressed or highlighted, while others are read in a lighter, less emphasized manner.

不妨体会以下同一个句子的 4 个版本(例子来自于 Macquarie University):

Consider the following 4 versions of the same sentence (examples from Macquarie University):

Marianna made the marmalade...

拿第 1 个版本为例,请参照以下图示:

In the first version, for example, please refer to the following diagram:

nuclear-accented-words

同样一个句子,强调不同的可能表达不同的含义[1]

The same sentence, by emphasizing different words, can convey different meanings[1:1].

  • Will you drive to the office tommorrow? (rather than someone else)
  • Will you drive to the office tommorrow? (rather than going some other way)
  • Will you drive to the office tommorrow? (rather than from the office)
  • Will you drive to the office tommorrow? (rather than somewhere else)
  • Will you drive to the office tommorrow? (rather than some other day)

强读的词汇之中,重音音节往往带着声调 —— 升、降、平、降升(2.5.2)。并且,少数重音音节会有被拔高的音高(2.5.1)。这些都是自然语流的韵律(prosody)格外重要的组成部分,也是跟读模仿时的重点之一。

Stressed words often carry tone (2.5.2) - rising, falling, flat, or falling-rising. Moreover, a few stressed syllables might have a higher pitch. These are significant parts of natural speech prosody, and should be a focus when imitation reading.

另外,除了少数词汇会被强读 之外,还会有很多词汇会被弱读

In addition, besides a few words being stressed, many words will be weakly pronounced.

以下是某段 TOEFL 听力录音中前两个句子,请注意同一个单词 “community” 第一次出现和第二次出现时的具体不同:

Here are two sentences from the TOEFL listening recording. Note the specific difference when the word community appears for the first and second time:

Community service is an important component of education here at our university. We encourage all students to volunteer for at least one community activity before they graduate.

这段录音中所有被强读的词汇在以下的文本中被加重标记(而没有标记的,就是被弱读的):

In this recording, all the words that are stressed are highlighted in the following text (those not marked are weakly pronounced):

Community service is an important component of education here at our university. We encourage all students to volunteer for at least one community activity before they graduate.

自然语音中,会有大量的常见词汇会被弱读 —— 尤其是那些最常见的单音节词汇。

In natural speech, a large number of common words are weakly pronounced - especially those most common single syllable words.

各种语言都有这种现象,主要原因可能是因为太常见太容易理解不可能被误解相对于不那么重要等等诸如此类的原因,乃至于说话者在说那些词汇(或者音节)的时候会更快或者更轻,甚至合并或者省略

This phenomenon exists in all kinds of languages. The main reason might be because these words are too common, too easily understood, cannot be misunderstood, relatively unimportant, and so on. As a result, when speakers say these words (or syllables), they tend to speak faster or lighter, even merging or omitting them.

北京人在说 “不知道” 这三个字的时候,有可能说出来的是用拼音都很难标记的 bù(r)dào,其中原本应该的 zhī 被糊弄成了甚至好像没有韵母的 r…… 但,谁都听得懂,哪怕最初不习惯,听个两三次也就适应了。

For example, when Beijingers say "不知道", it might come out as bù(r)dào, where the original zhī is mumbled into an r that doesn't even seem to have a vowel. But everyone understands it, and even if you're not used to it at first, you'll adapt after hearing it a few times.

某个单词被强读或者被弱读的时候,该单词的元音长短和重音所在(如果是多音节单词的话)都会相应发生变化,具体常见变化如下:

When a word is stressed or weakly pronounced, the length of the vowels and the location of the stress (if it's a multisyllabic word) will change accordingly. The common changes are as follows:

如果一个音节是重音或被强读,那么这个单词中的:

If a syllable is stressed, or emphasized:

  • 长元音会被读的很清楚,并且足够长,甚至显得更长一些;
  • Long vowels are pronounced very clearly and long enough, even a bit longer;
  • 双元音会被读的很饱满,并且显得很有弹性;
  • Diphthongs are pronounced full and elastic;
  • 落在重音上的短元音都会显得更长一些;
  • Short vowels on the stressed syllables appear longer;
  • 重音所在的音节可能带着不同的声调(平调、升调、降调、降升)……
  • The syllable with the stress might carry different tone (flat, rising, falling, falling-rising);
  • 重音所在的音节可能带着更高的音高(往往是 “高”、“中”、“低” 中的 “高”)……
  • The syllable with the stress might often carry a higher pitch, often high among high, middle, low.

如果一个音节被弱读,那么这个单词中的:

If a syllable is weakly pronounced:

  • 长元音会变得短一些(几乎与短元音的长度相当);
  • Long vowels can get shorter (almost as short as short vowels);
  • 重音音节会变得与非重音音节一样轻;
  • The stressed syllable can be as light as the unstressed syllable;
  • 很多元音都会发生变化,向 schwa ə2.1.32.1.5)靠拢;
  • Many vowels might change, moving towards schwa ə (2.1.32.1.5);
  • 很多与辅音相关的停顿(2.4.1, 2.4.3.1)会被直接省略;
  • Many stops or pauses (2.4.1, 2.4.3.1) related to consonants can be directly omitted;
  • 清辅音 stkf 之后的元音 ə 可能会直接被省略掉;
  • The vowel ə after s, t, k, f might be directly omitted;
  • 整个单词所处的音高往往是 “高”、“中”、“低” 之中的 “低”,最多是 “中”……
  • The whole word often has a lower pitch, or at most middle pitch among high, middle, low.

其实,哪怕在单独读某一个单词的时候,其中元音的长短都会受到重音重读的影响。比如,city 这个单词,重音在第一个音节上,而两处的元音是一样的:ˈsɪ-t̬ɪ;但是只要你把第一个音节读得足够重,自然而然就能感觉到第一个音节只能比第二个音节更长(2.3.2)。

Actually, even when pronouncing a single word, the length of the vowels is influenced by the stress. For example, in the word city, the stress is on the first syllable, and both vowels are the same: ˈsɪ-t̬ɪ. But if you pronounce the first syllable heavy enough, you will naturally feel that the first syllable can only be longer than the second one (2.3.2).

大多数助动词、系动词、介词、连词、冠词、代词,都有两种发音形式:强读式accented form)、弱读式weak form) —— 这些单词往往都是单音节单词。在自然语流中,它们更多的情况下是以弱读式读出的。以下是其中最常见的强读式、弱读式对照列表。注意,以下的列表不能当作硬规则使用,不是所有的虚词都必须被弱读;也不是所有的实词都必须被强读。下面的列表只是在描述现象。

Most auxiliary verbs, linking verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and pronouns have two pronunciation forms: accented form and weak form - these words are often single syllable words. In natural speech, they are more often pronounced in the weak form. Below is a list of the most common accented and weak forms. Note, the list below cannot be used as hard rules. Not all function words must be weakly pronounced; not all content words must be stressed. The list below is only describing the phenomenon.

  • a: ə
  • am: æməm, m
  • an: ænən, n
  • and: ændənd, nd, ən, n
  • any: 'enini
  • are: /ɑ/:ə
  • as: æsəz
  • at: ætət
  • but: bʌtbət
  • can: kænkən, kn, kŋ
  • could: kudkəd, kd
  • do: duːdu, də, d
  • does: dʌzdəz
  • for: fɔːfə, f
  • from: frɔmfrəm, frm
  • had: hædhəd, əd, d
  • has: hæzhəz, əz
  • have: hævhəv, həf, əv, əf
  • he: hiːhi, iː, i
  • her: həːhə, əː, ə
  • him: himim
  • his: hiziz
  • I: aiaː, ə
  • is: izs, z
  • many: 'menimni
  • me: miːmi
  • must: mʌstməst, məs
  • my: maimi
  • of: əvəv, v, f, ə
  • our: ɑʊɚ/ɑrɑ/
  • shall: ʃælʃəl, ʃl
  • she: ʃiːʃi
  • should: ʃudʃəd, ʃd, ʃt
  • so: səʊ
  • some: sʌmsəm, sm
  • such: sʌʧsəʧ
  • than: ðænðən, ðn
  • that: ðætðət
  • the: /ði/:ði, ðə
  • them: ðemðəm, ðm, əm, m
  • then: ðenðən
  • to: tuːtu, tə, t
  • us: usəs
  • was: wɔzwəz, wə
  • we: wiːwi
  • were: wəː
  • when: wenwən
  • will: wɪl/əl, l/
  • would: wuːdwəd, əd
  • you: juːju, jə

  1. This example came from Manual of American English Pronunciation, 4th edition, by Clifford H. Prator, Jr. BettyWallaceRobinett, 1972 ↩︎ ↩︎