AD's English Literature : GENERAL RULES OF ACCENTUATION

Saturday, February 26, 2011

GENERAL RULES OF ACCENTUATION

 

1.        Generally all the monosyllabic words are unaccented; but in metrical composition such words are often accented. The monosyllabic words having a diphthong such as “power”, “flower”, “our”, “shower”, are always accented.
2.        In metrical composition, monosyllabic ‘content’ words are almost always accented. On the other hand, the ‘structural’ words almost always remain unaccented.
3.        Each and every disyllabic word must have only one accent, on either the first or the second syllable.
4.        But the disyllabic words like “any”, “many”, and “very” sometimes may remain unaccented, whereas the monosyllabic words like “yet”, “still” and “all” are accented very often.
5.        In a long polysyllabic word, we may have one or more accents. In general case, either the first or the second syllable must have the accent. Very few exceptional words like “returnee” have the first two syllables unaccented, followed by the accent on the third (re-turn-'ee). In fact, the English tendency is to put the accent as near the beginning of the word as possible.
6.        In a polysyllabic word having no prefix or suffix (eg. “de'terio'rate”, “'chloro'form”, “Hippo'crene” etc) we may have two accents. Here the more emphatic accent is called ‘primary accent’ and the less emphatic accent is “secondary accent”. But the secondary accent more often falls on the non-roots.
7.        The primary accent must be on the root, while any accent on the suffix or prefix is always the secondary accent.
8.        The monosyllabic prefix may or may not be accented.
Examples follow:

*sincere =in-sin-cere='in-sin-cer-i-ty.
*'real = un-'real= un-real-'ist-ic.
*'science='scien-'ti-fic='un-scien-'ti-fic.
*'norm ='norm-al = ab-'norm-al = 'ab-norm-'al-i-ty.

9.        The combining forms or prefixes having two syllables (eg. “hyper”, “inter-“, “super-“, “hypo-“, etc.) have the accent always on the first syllable.
10.     The suffixes are often accented. Then the accent is secondary. In some cases, the words may even end with and accented syllable. In the following examples, the primary accent occurs in the first syllable and the secondary in the last:-

* “'popular'ize”, “'general'ize”, “'jeopard'ize”, “'summarize”, (verbs with “-ize”).
* “'signi'fy”, “'beauti'fy”, “'magni'fy”, “'clari'fy”, (verbs with “-fy”)
* “'colour'ful”, “”'beauti'ful”, (Adjectives with “-ful”).
* “'magni'tude”, “'multi'tude”, “'ampli'tude”, “'longi'tude”, (Nouns with “-tude”).
* “'address'ee”, “'nomin'ee”, (Nouns with “-ee”). 

11.     Most of the suffixes do not affect the origional accent on the root. But such suffixes as “-ion”, “-ious”, “-ity”, “-ial”, “-ially”, “-ic”, “-ical”, “-ically”, “-al”, “-ally”, “-ian”, affect the accent, and they must be preceded always by the accented syllable. Examples follow:-
*'grade = gra-'da-tion;               starve = star-'va-tion
*ex-'a-mine= ex-'a-mi-'na-tion. (here the original accent is not affected).
*'cou-rage= cou-'ra-geous;      'in-dus-try = in-'dus-trious.
*'lo-cal = lo-'ca-li-ty.
*'in-dus-try= in-'dus-trial= in-'dus-trial-ly.
*'his-to-ry= his-'to-ric= his-'to-ric-al= his-'to-ric-al-ly.
*'in-di-dent= 'in-ci-'den-tal= 'in-ci-'den-tal-ly. (original accent unaffected).
*'li-bra-ry= li-'bra-rian;               'mu-sic= mu-'si-cian.

12.     There may be two or more accents in a long polysyllabic word, but two consecutive syllables can’t be accented in that word. In such a word, an accented syllable must have at least one unaccented syllable before or after, or both before and after. The word “scientific” = 'scien-'ti-fic) is a rare exception having two consecutive accented syllables.
13.     In a long polysyllabic word, there are often two consecutive unaccent syllables. In some exceptional cases like the following ones, we have even three or four unaccented syllables in succession in a single word:-

*Individuality ='in-di-vi-du-'a-li-ty.
*indicatory = 'in-di-ca-to-ry/ in-'di-ca-to-ry.
*indubitable = in-'du-bi-ta-ble.
*materialistically = ma-'te-rial-'ist-ic-al-ly.
*indistinguishableness = 'in-dis-tin-guish-a-ble-ness.
*individualistically = 'in-di-'vi-dual-'ist-ic-al-ly.
*permanency = 'per-ma-nen-cy.
*competency = 'com-pe-ten-cy.
*melancholy = 'me-lan-cho-ly.
*cumulative = 'cu-mu-la-tive.

14.     Though the Englishmen tend to accent the first syllable, many disyll verb is accented on the last syllable.
Examples:- “sur'prise”; “with'draw”; “ap'peal”; “ap'pear”; “pro'mote”; etc.

15.     Accent on the disyllabic root word often alters, expecially when this word has its simultaneous use as different parts of speech. Nouns and adjectives send to be accented on the first syllable; adjectives may have accent also on the second syllable. But the verbs always tend to be accented on the second syllable. Yet verbs may have accent on the first syllable, thou too.
Examples follow:-
WORD                   as NOUN               as ADJECTIVE                     as VERB
Convict                  'con-vict                                 x                              con-'vict
Record                   're-cord                                   x                              re-'cord
Permit                     'per-mit                                   x                              per-'mit
Object                    'ob-ject                                   x                              ob-'ject
Survey                   'sur-vey                                  x                              sur-'vey
Expert                     'ex-pert                            'ex-pert                                 x
Instinct                  'ins-tinct                          ins-'tinct                               x
Absent                        x                                   'ab-sent                        ab-'sent
Frequent                                      x                                 'fre-quent                      fre-'quent
Present                   'pre-sent                          'pre-sent                        pre-'sent
Subject                   'sub-ject                          'sub-ject                        sub-'ject
Forfeit                    'for-feit                            'for-feit                          'for-feit
Better                     'bet-ter                             'bet-ter                           'bet-ter
16.     But it is no hard and fast rule. Many disyllabic root words are always accented on the second syllable irrespective of their uses as different part of speech.

Examples:-    
                Re-'turn (n.v.)                        re-'port (n.v.)
                Re-'serve(n.v)                       at-'tack(n.v.)
                Res-'pect(n.v)                       di-'rect(v.adj.)
                Re-'verse(n.v.adj.)                ad-'dress(n.v.)
                Re-'venge(n.v.)                     neg-'lect(n.v.)
                De-'sire(n.v.)                         re-'mark(n.v.)
                Sur-'prise(n.v.)

17.     There are a few disyllabic words which are even accented on the first syllable, no matter whether they are used as nouns or verbs.
Examples:- 'res-cure(n.v.);                   'jin-gle(n.v.);          'bus-tle(n.v.);
'mat-ter(n.v.);        'hur-ry(n.v.)           'hun-ger(n.v) etc.

18.     In compounds, generally we have only one accent, (especially when both the words are monosyllabic) although both the units are “content” words. In such nominal compounds, the first word is accented.
Examples:- 'post-man;          'air-bus;                  'book-case;            'house-tops;  'sun-glass.

19.     The compounds ending with “-self” or “-selves” have the accent on the second syllable:- “them-'selves”; “him-'self”; “my-'self”; “your-'selves”.

20.     The compounds ending with “-ever” have the accent on the second syllable:- “how-'e-ver”; “what-'e-ver”; “when-é-ver”; ho-'e-ver”; “which-'e-ver”.

21.     In the compounds, both the units can be accented, especially when both are not nouns or monosyllabic words.

Examples:- “'coun-try-'house”, “'af-ter-'noon”, “'bad-tem-pered”, “'home-'made”, “'good-'look-ing” etc.

The syllable having no vowel – sound but having only a syllabic consonant is always unaccented.

All kinds of accent discussed so far are called the word-accent. Besides, we have three different kinds of accent. They are rhetofical, metrical and wrenched.

a)       WORD ACCENT- It is the original, basic or fundamental kind of accent, which is always fixed (as shown in the dictionary) and is determined by the native speech habit and pronunciation of the Englishmen. It is either primary or secondary.

        
b)       RHETORICAL ACCENT- It is a kind of accent which is put on an otherwise unaccented syllable/word to produce a specially intended meaning. If we utter the expression – “He is rich but honest” in the normal way, it will express nothing more than what it actually means, But if we put an accent on the conjuction “but”, then the utterance will insinuate the actually the rich are dishonest by nature, so he being both rich and honest, is an exception.

      
c)       METRICAL ACCENT- It is an accent used in poetry, which is a kind of metrical composition. Then, under the pressure of metre, we put an accent on the normally unaccented syllable (mostly pronoun, or preposition, or conjuction), we have metrical accent.

Example: “I 'hear the 'lin-net court-ing
                His 'la-dy in the 'spring”.
If we put accent on the preposition “in” then all the 3 feet in the second line will be symmetrical. This accent on “in” is called the metrical accent.

d)        WRENCHED ACCENT- It means the alteration of the original word-accent. As for examples, “depend” or “desire” has the accent on the second syllable. If we have to put the accent on the first syllable instead of the second, then it is called wrenched accent.

Prepositions are ‘structural’ words. So, they should remain unaccented. It is true about all the monosyllabic prepositions. But in case of a disyllabic preposition, we often have an accent on the first or second syllable. Examples follow:-

*anti= 'an-ti;                          *about=a- 'bout;                  *between=be= 'twe;
*over= 'o-ver;                       *above=a- 'bove;                 *along=a- 'long;    
*after= 'af-ter;                       *below=be- 'low;                  *without=with- 'ou
*under= 'un-der;                  *beneath=be- 'neath;          *beside=be- 'sid
*before=be- 'fore;                *upon=up- 'on;                    *beyond=be- 'yon
*amid=a- 'mid;                      *within=with- 'in; *against=a- 'gain
*into= 'in-to;                         *among=a- 'mong;               *until=un- 'til

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen, then as I am
listening now!
Tea 'ch me/ha 'lf the/ gla 'd ness
Tha 't thy/ bra 'in must/ kno 'w
Suc 'h har/mo 'ni-our/ma 'd ness
Fro 'm my/li 'ps would /flo 'w
The wo 'rld/ should li 'st/en the 'n/ as I ' / am
                li 'st(en)/ing no 'w

Prosodic name: The lines are in Trochas Trimeter except the last line which is in Iambic hexameter.
1)       The second and fourth lines are catalectic.
2)       The 2nd foot of the 3rd line is Dactylic variation.

To one who has been long in city pent
Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven – to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.

Ans.
To o 'ne/ who ha 's/ been lo 'ng/ in ci 't/ y pe 'nt
Tis ve 'r/-y swe 'et/ to lo 'ok/ into '/the fa 'ir
And o '-/pen fa 'ce/of he 'aven/ to bre 'athe/ a pra 'y/er
Full i 'n/the smi 'le/ of the blu 'e fi 'r-/ma-me 'nt

Prosodic Name: Iambic pentameter
Variation: 1) The last foot of the third line is hyper metrical.
3)       The 3rd foot of the 4th line is Pyrrhic and 4th foot of the same line is a spondee.


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