Lesson 2 - Syllables in English words
English words can have one or more syllables. Here are some examples.
If an English word has more than one syllable, one of the syllables of the word should sound stronger, or stressed. It is said more loudly, on a higher pitch and is slightly lengthened. There may be more than one stressed syllable in a poly-syllabic word such as environmental. In most dictionaries, the symbol used to indicate stress is /ˈ/ placed before the stressed syllable, e.g., eˈxam. If a word has more than one stressed syllable, the major one is called primary stress /ˈ/, and the other secondary stress /ˌ/ e.g., ˌphiˈlosophy. These stresses are usually indicated together with the pronunciation symbols /ˌfɪˈlɒsəfɪ/. Check your dictionary for the system used. The remaining unstressed syllables are pronounced very fast, i.e., with weak vowels.
Find out the stresses in the following words.
Counting syllables and recognizing wordstress
Listen to the recording and write the number of syllables for each word in the space provided. Also read each word to yourself and find out where the stress is.