User: TopQuark Subscribe to TopQuark pronunciations
|2013-11-20||Apocalypse Now [en]||1 votes|
|2013-11-20||catastrophe [en]||1 votes|
|2013-11-20||woe [en]||1 votes|
|2013-11-20||rack and ruin [en]||votes|
Native of England, UK, so inevitably I speak British English (coded as en-GB under ISO standards). We'd probably call my regional accent RP (received pronunciation) which is spoken across London, the home counties and the south-east of England. I defer to guidance on world dialects of English given online in the Oxford English Dictionary at oxforddictionaries.com – though my Yorkshire roots are occasionally betrayed by an instinctive flat northern vowel, as in /wɒn/
Speakers of English as a second language often overlook the everyday intonations that that have produced some of the world's great poetry.
Two patterns of stress dominate spoken English. When emphasis falls on the second syllable in a two-syllable word (hell-O, be-GIN, to-DAY, ro-MANCE), the stressed vowel is usually louder and longer. This everyday pattern is captured perfectly by much of Shakespeare's output, written in what poets call the iambic pentameter (five beats to the line, where the stress is on the second of two syllables), as in:
"Shall I com-PARE thee TO a SUM-mer's DAY? " (stress the word I in second place), and:
"I KNOW a BANK where-ON the WILD thyme BLOWS" (no stress on I as the first word).
The opposite rhythm is the trochee - the poet's term for stressing the first of two syllables: ENG-lish, MON-day, TRO-chee, PO-em, SHAKE-speare, ANG-lo SAX-on.
“Trochee trips from long to short
From long to long in solemn sort..."
... as Coleridge wrote. It is the more formal and less comfortable of these two main rhythms in English, and it can come to sound rather relentless when spoken at length, as in Longfellow's poem The Song of Hiawatha:
"By the shore of Gitchie Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water..."
In longer, polysyllabic words, a general rule is to stress the third syllable counted leftwards from the end of the word: AN-i-mal, SAT-ur-day, mag-NIF-i-cent, Minn-e-A-pol-is, ARCH-i-tect, INT-er-est.
A final unstressed vowel is often thrown away with a non-specific "uh" sound /ə/, as with the final syllable in RIV-er, NEV-er, CAP-i-tal, CARR-ot, REG-u-lat-or, EX-tra, GARR-i-son, el-EC-tric-al. This neutral sound is the most common vowel in English pronunciation and is called a sheva.
For more about intonation and stress consult the EnglishClub.com online at tinyurl.com/2vlwzk
Many linguistic varieties of English exist all over the world – Standard English is itself only one dialect. The main dialects are identified online at tinyurl.com/kv5ny3
I don't attempt to pronounce US words, nor do I vote on American pronunciations, and trust other non-native speakers of British English to reciprocate.