1. Blaez
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    Blaez New Member

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    Syllables - Stressed, Unstressed

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Blaez, Jul 11, 2010.

    Hi,
    I know this is a very basic problem. However, I am having great difficulty in knowing which syllables to stress. How can I improve my ability to identify this? I've read information about it ad nauseam, but in practice, it has proven to be very hard to do. any help will be gratefully received.

    Regards
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure what your question is. In English, stressed syllables are not indicated in the spelling, unlike some other languages. For a particulae word, you can look up the normal stress pattern in the dictionary. Because English has its roots in so many oter languages, there is no reliable pattern for guessing the stress pattern of a word.

    If you are looking for the stress patterns used in poetry in context of meter, google the word prosody. But that wouldn't be spelling, punctuation and grammar.
     
  3. Blaez
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    Blaez New Member

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    I appologize for sticking this in the wrong place. But thanks for the reply regardless, the word prosody has been very helpful in locating new information. I've been reading up extensively on meter and form, it's all making sense, I just had difficulty in dealing with the identification of stress patterns so I could move forward with my writing. But this has been very helpful.

    Regards.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you referring to poetry, or prose?
     
  5. Blaez
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    Blaez New Member

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    Poetry.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ah, so!... figgered as much, but thought i'd make sure... i'm a full time poet and i mentor many who want to write poetry, so if you want some one-on-one help, just drop me a line any time...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    As Cog says, there's no dependable way to tell. There's a tendency in English for the primary stress to move over the centuries towards the beginning of the word, but how far it has got depends on how long the word has been in English and how fast it has been moving.

    In poetry there can be a tension between the natural stress and the rhythm of the poetry. The really good poet can make use of that tension, but it's an advanced technique that needs to be used with care or it will seem clumsy.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's not really a matter of knowing which syllables to stress, since the way you word the line will determine that and you can't make it sound any other way, when read... here's a silly little example:

    He wants to write a poem,
    but doesn't quite know how.
    If he had read great poems,
    he would know how by now.

    try to read that aloud and stress other syllables and you should see what i mean...

    here's an example with more multi-syllable words:

    The syllable one stresses
    in writing poetry,
    is not just left to guesses...
    that claim is sophistry!

    hugs, maia
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well -- to a point. If anybody reads Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 as insensitively as:
    Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
    Thou art more lovely, and more temperate.
    Then whoever is teaching them poetry has really got their work cut out! Yes, that's the underlying meter, but it's nothing like how it should be read!
     
  10. Blaez
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    Blaez New Member

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    Hi,
    Thanks for the offer :), I'll definitely take you up on that some time. I'm slowly getting this, so I'll just take the time to build on what I'm doing right now.
     

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