Accent Modification Technique: Proper Noun Stress
One effective accent modification technique involves using the voice to place accurate stress when using two-word and three-word proper nouns in speech. Proper nouns, according to Marjorie Whittaker and Lynda Katz-Wilner, of ESL Rules, are “geographic locations such as continents, countries, states, cities, islands, bodies of water, parks, roadways, mountains, tourist attractions, museums, hospitals, airlines or cruise lines, sports teams, publications, and people’s names and titles. The following information was adapted from Rules for Using linguistic Elements of Speech (see “Source” at end of article). Information has been added.
Proper Noun Stress
Place stress on the second word in two-word proper noun names. Place stress on the second word in three-word proper noun names. To place stress, raise the voice pitch and volume. For example we say “Timber Street”. Remember to follow the syllable stress rules for placing primary stress on each individual syllable in words.
Practice pronouncing the following two word proper noun names. Place stress on the second word in bold print by raising your voice pitch and volume level slightly.
She is from South Africa.
He was transferred to Froedert Hospital.
Noah’s Arc is the name of the largest water park in the world. It is in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
We rooted for the Green Bay Packers football team.
I read the article in Psychology Today.
Note that there is an exception to this two-word proper name rule. When using street names, place the least stress on “Street”. For example, we say “King Street” versus “Fifth Avenue”. Place stress on the last name in street names with more than one name. Remember to follow the syllable stress rules for placing primary stress on each individual syllable in words. For example we say “John Quincy Adams street”.
Examples: Street Names
Turn left on Stewart Street.
Take a right on John Henry Street.
Take another right on David Henry Thorough Street.
Practice pronouncing the following three-word proper noun names. Place stress on the second word in three-word proper noun names.
Our next vacation will be in Denali National Park.
We visited Yellowstone National Park in Montana last year.
Next year we’re going to Glacier National Park.
She was admitted to Mercy Medical Center.
Place stress on the second word in two-word proper noun names. When using street names with only one name, place the least stress on “Street”. Place stress on the last name in street names with more than one name. Place stress on the second word in three-word proper noun names.
Source: Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker & Lynda Katz-Wilner. Rules for Using Linguistic Elements of Speech: A Resource and Interactive Workbook. Owings Mills: Successfully Speaking, 2006, 2007, 2nd Edition. Print.
December 15th, 2013 in
Accent Reduction Techniques
, Accent Reduction Tips
, Accent Rule Patterns
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