PLACING THE SECONDARY STRESS IN POLYSYLLABIC WORDS
Introduction : As you know, every English word must have a primary stress and optionally a secondary stress. The latter is found in some words but not in others. i.e: Publicity vs Responsibility. Secondary stress precedes in derivations, follows in compounds; at least there is one syllable between primary and secondary stress. Secondary stress is on the syllable of derivation where there was primary stress in the original word: participate / participation.
1. Automatic secondary stress: When there are only 2 syllables before the primary stress, we can determine the place of secondary stress in a systematic way, and we therefore call it “automatic” stress. Thus, the secondary stress necessarily falls on the first syllable of the word. Why is tress automatic? 1- The syllable just before the primary stress must receive a zero stress. 2- The first syllable of the word, directly before the zero stress will receive secondary stress. Examples: Picturesque ;
2. Derivational secondary stress: This time, when there are 3 or more syllables before the primary stress, the placement of primary stress cannot be automatic but is the result of the derivation rule. Indeed, primary stress may fall either on the first or on the second syllable of the polysyllabic word. Derivation rule: the rule consists of 3 steps to be followed
1. Find the most direct ROOT from which the polysyllabic word is derived from. 2. Determine the place of PRIMARY STRESS in the root, using the appropriate stress rule. 3. Reduce PRIMARY STRESS in the root to SECONDARY STRESS in the derived word. Ex 1: