The IUP Journal of English Studies
Segmental Evidence for Stress in English

Article Details
Pub. Date : September, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES80921
Author Name : Mohamed Fathy Khalifa
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 12



Segmental phonological rules are commonly used as diagnostics for stress, and stress can affect segmental and syllable structure (Hammond 1999; Hayes 1995). This shows that some segmental alternations are conditioned by the presence or absence of stress. This paper explains two pieces of segmental evidence for stress in English-vowel reduction and stop allophony: glottaling and aspiration. It is divided into two sections. The first section deals with vowel reduction, which shows the relationship between vowel quality and stress. The second section is concerned with stop allophony, which is the use of allophones of voiceless stops as segmental evidence for stress. The findings are as follows: first, there is a tendency for full vowels to be associated with stressed syllables; however, this pattern does not always exist since unstressed syllables do not always have reduced vowels. Second, glottaling is a segmental evidence for stress in English, since the /t/ is replaced by a glottal stop / ?/ when it is unstressed and is not replaced when it is stressed. Therefore, the weakening of /t/ to / ?/ is a sign of stresslessness and vice versa. Third, aspiration in English provides a strong clue about the position of stress: English voiceless plosives and the affricate /?/ are aspirated word-initially as in "pray," "train," "coat," and "chair," but this aspiration fails to happen when these sounds are preceded by /s/ as in "spray," "strain," "scot," and "mischief." Finally, English plosives and the affricate /?/ are also aspirated when they are in stressed syllables as in re'pair, a'ttend, a'ccomplish, and a'chieve.


It is common to prove the reality of stress through the different degrees of prominence exhibited by different syllables in words, or by different words in word constructions (Halle and Vergnaud 1987; Ladefoged 1993; Spencer 1996). In this paper, stress will be diagnosed through some segmental data. Hayes (1995, 12) points out that "the best way to do this is to use the segmental phonological rules of English as diagnostics for stress.