HowTo: identify the stressed syllable

It is hard for a non-native speaker of English (like me) to get the stress on English words correctly; so, I speak English as I speak Indian languages — without stress on any syllable and really fast. However, there seems to be a nice trick to get the stress correct (which, they obviously don’t teach you in schools):

As an aside, once, whilst drinking with a psycholinguist (say that after a few pints) I was taught a useful way of quickly working out the stressed syllable in any English word – something which is apparently called the ‘fuck test’.

Simply insert the word ‘fucking’ into the word, as if you were using the swear word for emphasis, and the syllable that follows the ‘fucking’ is the stressed syllable.

For example, absolutely -> abso-fucking-lutely. The stressed syllable is the third: i.e. absolutely. It works for every multi-syllable word I’ve found so far.

Via Jonah Lehrer.

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One Response to “HowTo: identify the stressed syllable”

  1. lisa Says:

    what if the word has only one syllable and you want to know whether it’s stressed or not?

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