Where are French words stressed?

Oddmania

Senior Member
French
Il n'y a pourtant aucune accentuation dans aucun de ces mots (en français, bien sûr). Si j'accentue la dernière syllabe, la prononciation est radicalement différente comparée à la prononciation normale où je n'en accentue aucune.

Je suis entièrement d'accord avec la remarque de Kelly dans son post #44. Ce n'est pas parce que la première syllabe n'est pas accentuée comme en italien que la seconde l'est forcément. La seconde syllabe est plus accentuée en français qu'en italien, cela explique peut-être que vous la percevez comme étant "accentuée". Pourtant, elle n'est pas plus accentuée que la première.
 
  • atcheque

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    Bonjour,

    Simone Hérault, la voix de la SNCF :
    Pour chaque mot, elle enregistre trois versions : montante, descendante et montante avec un « de » ou un « du » devant, afin de respecter le rythme de la phrase et les règles de liaison.
    C'est bien le contexte et non le mot, ou ses syllabes, qui est accentué en français.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    La seconde syllabe est plus accentuée en français qu'en italien, cela explique peut-être que vous la percevez comme étant "accentuée".
    C'est probable. :thumbsup:
    Pourtant, elle n'est pas plus accentuée que la première.
    Sur ce point je ne suis pas d'accord. Je perçois que la seconde est plus accentuée.
    La même chose pour Clara (Clàra: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, English, German; Clarà: French).
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    C'est là que vous vous trompez. Vous êtes tellement habitué à entendre la seconde syllabe moins accentuée que la première que lorsque les deux le sont tout autant, vous avez l'impression que la seconde l'est plus !

    Si une première personne vous demandait de prononcer "Clara" en italien, vous diriez "Clàra".
    Si une seconde personne vous demandait de prononcer ce même mot en accentuant la première syllabe, vous penseriez sans doute "Le résultat est le même : Clàra. L'accent va toujours sur la première syllabe, de toute façon".

    Moi, si une première personne me demandait de dire "Clara" en français, je dirais "Clara", sans accent particulier.
    Si une deuxième personne me demandait de dire "Clara" en accentuant la dernière syllabe, j'obtiendrais une prononciation totalement différente : ClaRA (avec une espèce de faux accent russe, peut-être).

    Je ne choisirais d'accentuer cette syllabe que si mon cerveau me le dictait : par exemple "Elle ne s'appelle pas Clarie, elle s'appelle Clara !". Je choisis d'accentuer la syllabe pour la mettre en relief. C'est le contexte qui l'exige, pas la langue française.
     

    Barbanellie

    Senior Member
    français
    Hmmm... Je ne suis pas experte en phonétique, mais j'ai lu ce fil, et j'ai tendance à être d'accord avec Oddmania, il n'y a pas d'accentuation systématique des syllables, mais plutôt une tendance à accentuer la dernière syllable de certains mots, selon le contexte.

    La même chose pour Clara (Clàra: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, English, German; Clarà: French).
    Mais pas toujours. Si je dis "C'est Clara", à mon oreille, il n'y a pas d'accentuation particulière sur le deuxième "a" de Clara, versus si on pose la question "C'est Clara?", alors là il y a une accentuation sur le deuxième "a", parce que c'est une question.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Moi, si une première personne me demandait de dire "Clara" en français, je dirais "Clara", sans accent particulier.
    But it is what happens in those examples taken from forvo.com. Il y a un accent on la dernière syllabe! :)
    Also Bernard Tranel (in "The Sounds of French: An Introduction, Cambridge" pp. 194-200) says that the stress is put in the last syllable (except if it is a schwa) of every phonological phrase. It is not an invention of Italian and English phoneticians. :D
    Anyway, I won't try to convince anyone. I provided some audio files from Forvo where there is a clear difference in stress between French and other European languages. Everyone has his own ears and can get an idea of it.
    Mais pas toujours. Si je dis "C'est Clara", à mon oreille, il n'y a pas d'accentuation particulière sur le deuxième "a" de Clara, versus si on pose la question "C'est Clara?", alors là il y a une accentuation sur le deuxième "a", parce que c'est une question.
    In this case it's the intonation (pitch) that changes, not the stress (which is in the same point).
     
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    Barbanellie

    Senior Member
    français
    In this case it's the intonation (pitch) that changes, not the stress (which is in the same point).
    My mistake, you are correct.
    I think the stress used by native French speakers is so slight that we don't realize we do it, I guess, but it is there and can be heard by people who look for it, but we spot foreign speakers immediately because they stress those syllables too much?

    Je ne choisirais d'accentuer cette syllabe que si mon cerveau me le dictait : par exemple "Elle ne s'appelle pas Clarie, elle s'appelle Clara !".
    That is also what I would infer from someone putting "obvious" stress on the last syllable, emphasizing the correct pronunciation because people often use an incorrect name (sort of like telling someone "My name is Klara, with a K")
     

    guillaumedemanzac

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    Iambic stress is very important in English- and the difference between a strong and a weak vowel is what causes most foreigners pronunciation problems. In addition, in English, the meaning of each phrase is carried by the stress - unimportant articles, prepositions, modal verbs have a weak pronunciation while the verbs, nouns, adjectives generally have a strong stress.

    To compare that to French is meaningless as the system is totally different.
    And in English the stress changes often to fit the iambic meter -- JACK 'n' JILL wen UP the HILL ---- note that 'wen(t)' is less important than 'UP' so the weak pronunciation drops the 't'. The "meaning" words are more stressed and the others truncated or elided to a weak form.
    French as already said is almost monotone with only the rise and fall to show whether the phrase is the first or the last. I too can't hear any French 'stress' on any particular syllable because, compared to English, there ISN'T any - well, only a little comparatively!!
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    To compare that to French is meaningless as the system is totally different.
    I don't agree on it.
    French language has a strong vowel reduction. Je pense qu'il est revenu in Parisian fast speech is pronounced [ˌʃpɒ̃skileʁvˈny], with an extensive drop of almost all e muets while in Francitan it's prononuced [ʒəˈpaⁿsə kiˈle ʁəvəˈny].
    Italian and Spanish have stress and no vowel reduction. French has stress and vowel reduction, to be more precise vowel suppression in unstressed syllables. The difference is where this stress is placed. In Italian and Spanish (and English) there is a word stress, in French there is a sentence stress. By the way, it is a stress, and it is very noticeable, pretty strong.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    But it is what happens in those examples taken from forvo.com. Il y a un accent on la dernière syllabe! :)
    Yes, but there is sometimes an equal if not stronger stress on the first syllable, e.g. here.

    Since stress accent is non-phonemic, the stress pattern is not always predictable. It is true that the predominant pronunciation is with only the last syllable stressed unless the last one is an open syllable with a Schwa in which case the penultimate syllable is stressed. But since this is not phonemic, variations are always possible.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I still hear Clarà and je m'appelle Clarà, et vous? :)
    ['kla,ʁa] is what I hear in this particular case.

    I share @Oddmania's suspicion: In Italian the stress pattern of word is uniquely identified by the number of unstressed syllables after the last stressed syllable (0=ultima, 1=penultima and 2=ante-penultima). You may therefore ignore the stress level of all syllables before the last stressed one.
     

    Christo Tamarin

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    On the one hand, there are languages like English, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Bulgarian, etc (German - what about it?). In those language, a stress position is assigned to each multisyllabic word, and even there are words distinguished by the stress position only.
    Example_EN: words like import, export, address have different stress positions when a noun and when a verb.
    Example_SP: Hablo Inglés (I speak English). Habló Inglés (He spoke English).
    Example_GR: αχλάδια (pears), αχλαδιά (pear tree).
    Example_RU: большàя перемена (big change), бòльшая перемена (bigger change).
    Example_BG: у̀личен крадец (street thief, pilferer), уличѐн крадец (incriminated thief).

    On the other hand, there are languages like Georgian or Japanese, where although multisyllabic words prevail, no stress position is assigned.

    I think, French is to be added to the 2nd group: words are not assigned a stress position. Phrases are, words aren't.
     
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    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    On the other hand, there are languages like Georgian or Japanese, where although multisyllabic words prevail, no stress position is assigned.
    Japanese has pitch accent (two pitches in the standard Tokyo dialect).
    ame (low-high) = candy, あめ, 飴
    ame (high-low) = rain, あめ, 雨
    I think, French is to be added to the 2nd group: words are not assigned a stress position. Phrases are, words aren't.
    :thumbsup:
    When a phrase is composed by only one word, the stress is on the last syllable (except schwa).
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think, French is to be added to the 2nd group: words are not assigned a stress position. Phrases are, words aren't.
    When a phrase is composed by only one word, the stress is on the last syllable (except schwa).
    These are completely different things:
    - CT talks about words being assigned a stress position.
    - You are talking about phonetic and not about phonemic syllable stress.

    French speakers do not assign stress to the last syllable. Completely independently of this they usually do stress the last syllable. But this is completely irrelevant for understanding the word. The main function of this stress, if it has any, is to support word separation in continuous speech.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    You are talking about phonetic and not about phonemic syllable stress.
    :thumbsup:
    Yes, I know. This is why I differentiated French from Japanese (which has phonemic accent).
    Since my first comment I've been speaking about phonetic stress.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Since my first comment I've been speaking about phonetic stress.
    Yet you tend to mix this up. CT only spoke about assignment. Your reply started When a phrase is composed by only one word, ... which tries to connect CT's description with yours which is wrong or at least misleading. Even in a multi-word phrase do French speakers do stress the last syllable but they don't assign stress to it.

    And when they do stress the last syllable this does not mean all previous syllables are necessarily unstressed. They often (usually) are but not always. And that is happening in the sample of Clara in #60. You correctly hear the second syllable as stressed. But this first syllable is not unstressed.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    You correctly hear the second syllable as stressed. But this first syllable is not unstressed.
    When speaking about (phonetic) stress, the important thing, I think, is that a syllable is more stressed than others. The strongest stress is primary stress.
    Other syllables can have a secondary stress or may be unstressed.
    I could agree on a transcription like this, [ˌkaʁˈla]. What I'm speaking about is primary (phonetic) stress. I hear it on the final (non-schwa) syllable of every prosodic unit.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I could agree on a transcription like this, [ˌkaʁˈla]. What I'm speaking about is primary (phonetic) stress. I hear it on the final (non-schwa) syllable of every prosodic unit.
    With my German ear that is tuned to distinguishing secondary and primary stress I hear it the other way round in this particular sample (my German colleague sitting next to me says the same thing without a second of hesitation). I stand by my suspicion that because in Italian only the last stress is significant, you probably underestimate the stress level of the first syllable.

    Nevertheless I concede that this sample is an extreme case, probably because the word is pronounced in isolation. In the vast majority of cases, the strongest stress is on the last syllable of each word, except if the last syllable has a Schwa nucleus.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Bonjour,

    Simone Hérault, la voix de la SNCF :

    C'est bien le contexte et non le mot, ou ses syllabes, qui est accentué en français.
    That is about pitch not about stress. Though pitch and stress are not unrelated, I think we shouldn't go into that here; I suspect it would only add to the confusion and wouldn't clarify anything.
     

    Dan2

    Senior Member
    US
    English (US)
    But it is what happens in those examples taken from forvo.com. Il y a un accent on la dernière syllabe! :)
    Yes, but there is sometimes an equal if not stronger stress on the first syllable, e.g. here.
    I still hear Clarà and je m'appelle Clarà, et vous? :)
    Et moi? Ça dépend...:)
    I have two observations, probably related.

    1. Stressed syllables in English tend to be longer, louder, and to have a different pitch contour, compared to unstressed syllables. Other languages, even if universally agreed to have clearly defined stressed and unstressed syllables, don't necessarily mark stress precisely as English does. So for people of different phonemic-stress-language backgrounds to listen to words of French (a language without phonemic stress) and argue which syllable is more "stressed" is sure to be an exercise in frustration. (Unless of course one defines in acoustic terms what one means by "stress".)

    2. With my particular background (exposed only to English until teenage years), I can find myself in agreement with Bernd or with Nino with respect to the two renditions of "Clara", depending on how I "prime" myself. If I tell myself that I'm about to hear Clára, then that's what I hear, similarly for Clará. I conclude from this that in the French pronunciation of "Clara", neither syllable contains the constellation of acoustic characteristics of an English stressed syllable, but at the same time, neither syllable resembles an English unstressed syllable. I don't think there's much more that can meaningfully be said, without turning to acoustic measurements.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    neither syllable contains the constellation of acoustic characteristics of an English stressed syllable
    Indeed. There is too much pitch variation in English. With its virtually nil pitch variation except in pausa, German is a better reference. In Italian, stress is associated with falling pitch and that could influence Nino's perception as well.
     
    I once heard the general French pattern of stress explained to English speakers first learning French as something somewhat similar to what English speakers do when they are asked to count off their numbers, which I thought was quite good, since our number words up to ten are all monosyllabic and so avoid the problem of using multi-syllabic English words which would have all kinds of shifting stress patterns within them, and avoids, of course, phonetic transcriptions or concerns:

    (My boldface is for visual indication only, not for indicating an overly-strong voicing.)

    one

    one two
    one two three
    one two three four
    one two three four five (etc.,)

    The above can then be used to show stress lightly touching down on the last syllable of a complete thought phrase, not word.

    (This-was-not-to be, a so-phis-ti-ca-ted thing at all, but-in-stead-a-ve-ry quick way, to-get-the-id-e-a a-cross) :D
     

    Erkattäññe

    Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    Maybe I'm wrong but I could make things easier by saying all french words have stress on the last syllabe except for words that end in schwa. In that case they are stressed in the penultima.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    In Italian, stress is associated with falling pitch
    Only at sentence level.
    Francèsca è andàta a scuòla (the pitch falls on the stressed syllable of the last word of the phrase, i.e scuòla)
    scuòla (scuò is a little higher than la in this case, there is no great difference in pitch)
    and that could influence Nino's perception as well.
    As a musician I'm able to distinguish between pitch and stress.
    Maybe I'm wrong but I could make things easier by saying all french words have stress on the last syllabe except for words that end in schwa. In that case they are stressed in the penultima.
    :thumbsup:
    It seems it is evident for Italian and Spanish ears.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Only at sentence level.
    Francèsca è andàta a scuòla (the pitch falls on the stressed syllable of the last word of the phrase, i.e scuòla)
    scuòla (scuò is a little higher than la in this case, there is no great difference in pitch)
    It is the same thing you have with French: French pay attention only to the strong stress variations on phrase level and not to the weaker ones on word level whereas you and I can hear both because they both matter in our languages. I can equally clearly hear intra-word pitch variation in Italian (because as a German I am used to much subtler pitch variation as German has only very little) although this is of course much weaker than the strong falling pitch in pausa.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    It is the same thing you have with French
    That's what I meant: The different ways you and I hear Italian pitch resembles the different ways you and French speakers hear stress in French:
    - French speakers tell you there is no stress withing a word and you say but I hear it.
    - You say there is no falling pitch associated with stress in non-pausa words and I say but I hear it.
     
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    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    With the arrow I want to indicate that the first syllable has a higher pitch than the second one.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I hear in both languages a system of rising and falling pitches, not of high and low ones.
    I measured the pitch with praat.
    In the French sample cla is 1614 Hz while ra is 1242 Hz. There are more or less 370 Hz of difference between the two syllables.
    In the Italian sample the range is wider. Cla is 1351 Hz while ra is 737 Hz with a difference of more or less 600 Hz.
    But the range is different from speaker to speaker.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    In the French sample cla is 1614 Hz while ra is 1242 Hz. There are more or less 370 Hz of difference between the two syllables.
    Again: I hear in both languages a system of rising and falling pitches, not of high and low ones. Average pitch is of little significance (certainly in French but I think also in Italian). The direction of the pitch change within the syllable matters.
     

    guillaumedemanzac

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    And in English the syllable stress change makes a big change to the vowel sound in that syllable - see long list of words on the internet like refuse/object/present which as verbs have a second syllable stress and as nouns stress the first syllable - causing a considerable pronunciation difference.
    SIMilarly, with CLARa the second 'a' has a schwa vowel sound in British whereas in French I perso wouldn't hear any difference in the two 'a's = cla ra - the French system (for most native Brits) has a fairly monotone stress throughout the sentence with tone rises and falls for start/finish/emphasis.
    It's the reason why French speakers often cannot get a rhythmic rise and fall in the iambic system = the GRAND old DUKE of YORK / he HAD ten THOUSand MEN ....

    Try a few simple nursery rhymes for this learning/teaching process!!!!! childish but effective.
     

    Dan2

    Senior Member
    US
    English (US)
    I measured the pitch with praat.
    In the French sample cla is 1614 Hz while ra is 1242 Hz. There are more or less 370 Hz of difference between the two syllables.
    In the Italian sample the range is wider. Cla is 1351 Hz while ra is 737 Hz with a difference of more or less 600 Hz.
    Nino, these numbers are far too high to be pitch (fundamental frequency) values. Either you are reading pitch values incorrectly, or these numbers are something else, like formant values (which we do not perceive as pitch).

    guillaume: several good points in your post directly above. Just wanted to comment on...
    And in English the syllable stress change makes a big change to the vowel sound in that syllable - see long list of words on the internet like refuse/object/present which as verbs have a second syllable stress and as nouns stress the first syllable - causing a considerable pronunciation difference.
    That is usually the case but not always: consider noun vs verb forms of "pervert". Certainly in American English the vowel qualities are the same in noun and verb even while the stress shifts.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Nino, these numbers are far too high to be pitch (fundamental frequency) values.
    Indeed. For reference: 1396.91Hz is the highest tone the Queen of the Night sings in her famous aria Der Hölle Rache in Mozart's Zauberflöte.
     

    MickaelV

    Senior Member
    Accent on the last syllable of words in French is a myth. Some words might get emphasized in the general flow of conversation, but not syllables. If you start putting stress on one syllable in a word, then you stop sounding French.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Accent on the last syllable of words in French is a myth. Some words might get emphasized in the general flow of conversation, but not syllables. If you start putting stress on one syllable in a word, then you stop sounding French.
    We are talking about different things here. You are talking of prosodic and we are talking about phonemic stress. French is exceptional within European languages in not having phonemic stress. Most European languages have both, phonemic and prosodic stress and they distinguish between them.

    French once had phonemic stress like all other Romance languages. But during the middle ages most syllables after the word stress fell off. This made the stress pattern of French words irrelevant because the stress was always at the same point and stress became non phonemic. But this does not mean that French also lost all the phonetic charactistics of this lost phonemic stress and that is what Nino and others hear while French speaker ignore that information and think people like Nino mean prosodic stress because that is the only type of stress French speakers themselves continously perceive in their own language. But he hears both types of stress.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Some words might get emphasized in the general flow of conversation, but not syllables.
    If this were true, why do we have verbs like relever? Why does [ɛ] become [ə] (often dropped) in unstressed syllables if there is no stress in French?
    J(ə) rəlèv(ə) > J(ə) rəl(ə)
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    If this were true, why do we have verbs like relever? Why does [ɛ] become [ə] (often dropped) in unstressed syllables if there is no stress in French?
    J(ə) rəlèv(ə) > J(ə) rəl(ə)
    It is quite obvious that the two of you are talking about completely different concepts when you use the word stress. You have to sort that out before it makes sense to continue.

    Prosodic stress (and that is what Mickael is talking about) does indeed work quite differently in French than, e.g., in English. While prosodic stress (almost) only affects the main stress syllable of the emphasised word in English, it effects all syllables equally in French, plus the syllables are spaced out so that the whole word is longer:
    English: This wine is EXcellent!
    French: Ce vin est EX-CE-lLENT.
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    French has no accented syllables in a word at all, just a longer syllable at the end of a rhythmic group accompanied by rising or falling intonation.
    Speakers of (most) other languages have a strong stressed syllable on the first or second syllable of a word, sometimes accompanied by a weakened final syllable. French noticeably never has this, and final syllables are fully articulated. If speakers of a given language are naturally expecting from their background /Klá-ra/ or /kláa-rə/ and what you get is /kla-ra/ with two equally articulated monotone syllables or /Kla-raa/ with a longer second syllable if it is the end of the sentence/rhythmic group (je vais parler avec Claraa), they perceive a final accented syllable because of a combination of lack of stress on a first syllable and elongation at the end of a rhythm group.
    Another example:
    Mar-ko-ru-bjo-a-par-lee. No syllable is accented in Marco Rubio and all are equal. But if your language requires Má(a)r-ko Rú(u)-bjo and that is missing you perceive the final syllable accented.

    On the other hand, French speakers will never perceive any final syllable being accented, just a monotone staccato rhythm which is required. Foreigners do learn in school to accent the final syllable. I suppose this is easier than trying to explain to amateurs what I have had a hard time explaining. Plus it does work. Some really internalize it. I met a German friend in Paris, and he really stressed the endings. Garçoón, un vin roouúge, s'il vous plaaaaít. Merciiií beaucouuúp, monsieeeúr! French people hear this as foreign accent, extravagant, and might even say, wow Englishmen and Germans really accent final syllables don't they?
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    This is the reason why I said in one of my initial comments "I don't insist".
    Then I have to repeat what I said.
    I stay with what I and many phoneticians hear.
    I won't insist. :D
    It would be a repetition of the same concepts.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    French has no accented syllables
    That I would agree with. The claim was that the last syllable has (phonetic) dynamic stress on the last syllable without it being an accent, i.e. phonemically or prosodically relevant.
    Speakers of (most) other languages have a strong stressed syllable on the first or second syllable of a word
    There is no Romance language where this characterization it appropriate. Accent patterns that occur are antepenultimate, penultimate and ultimate. Classical Latin developed an accent system that was defined from the end rather than from the beginning no Romance language has reverted to a system that defines accent from the beginning.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    That I would agree with. The claim was that the last syllable has (phonetic) dynamic stress on the last syllable without it being an accent, i.e. phonemically or prosodically relevant.
    No, clearly not. If you take any word and give stress to any syllable for whatever reason, like musicians do, it makes no difference. One problem the French have at learning Spanish is "internalizing" that accenting a different syllable has some importance. Distinguishing the future from the imperfect subjunctive (cantará - cantára) and the present from the past (canto - cantó) is often terribly daunting for them and they do not even see why. They may say /can-to-muy-bien/ with equal syllabic stress (in their mind they don't) but communication breaks down.
    Want a torture for francophones? Ojalá no me dejara pero me dejará. Not only do they have to get accented syllables but need to distinguish /x/ and /r/ too. They simply may not hear the difference.

    There is no Romance language where this characterization it appropriate. Accent patterns that occur are antepenultimate, penultimate and ultimate. Classical Latin developed an accent system that was defined from the end rather than from the beginning no Romance language has reverted to a system that defines accent from the beginning.
    Yes, you determine the accent starting from the last syllable (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian) and it falls on the penultimate or anti-penultimate syllable. In practice that is usually the first or second syllable, not usually the last one. That is what I meant. (Téngo úna cása gránde y rosáda)
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    No, clearly not. If you take any word and give stress to any syllable for whatever reason, like musicians do, it makes no difference. One problem the French have at learning Spanish is "internalizing" that accenting a different syllable has some importance. Distinguishing the future from the imperfect subjunctive (cantará - cantára) and the present from the past (canto - cantó) is often terribly daunting for them and they do not even see why.
    Yes, that phenomenon is well known. Because dynamic stress within a word carries no information in French, speakers ignore it. In language acquisition it is almost as important to learn what to ignore as it is what to pay attention to. But as useful as ignoring intra-word dynamic stress is in French, it is a problem for French speakers in learning foreign languages.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    the present from the past (canto - cantó)
    The reflex of this distinction in French is that in present the -o was weakened to Schwa and subsequently completely muted while the past tense retained the full vowel at the end: [je] chante - [il] chanta. Thus the former today is a one syllable and the latter a two syllable word. This loss (or reduction to Schwa) of syllables following the stress syllable caused the stress pattern to become uniform and, hence, not to carry any information any more.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    This loss (or reduction to Schwa) of syllables following the stress syllable caused the stress pattern to become uniform and, hence, not to carry any information any more.
    The same thing happened with proparaxytones: àncora > àncre (anchor) vs. ancòra > encòre (again).
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    The same thing happened with proparaxytones: àncora > àncre (anchor) vs. ancòra > encòre (again).
    In Spanish post-tonic syllables were dropped too, ancla. There is no equivalent to encore/ancora in this language to make a comparison (in some old Spanish text I remember seeing encor but it could be dialectal), but final -e was routinely dropped after r, d, l, z etc: flor, amor.

    But this is different than the discussion here about modern pronunciation which shows equal syllable stress.
    The /ɔ/ is lengthened in encore in closed syllable environment as all vowels are before /ʁ/
     
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