Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 3 March 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Phrasal Stress in Telugu

Gouri Shanker Patil, M.Sc (Speech & Hearing), Ph.D (Speech & Hearing)
Kaki Ashritha, B.Sc. (Speech & Hearing)
C. Radhini, B.Sc. (Speech & Hearing)
N. Vaishnavi Jyothi, B.Sc. (Speech & Hearing)


The phrasal stress refers to the most prominent syllable in a sentence. It serves to highlight, focus, contrast, comment, or indicate new information (Hirst, 1977).

The current study thus aims to identify the location of phrasal/sentence stress in Telugu. Thirty right-handed native speakers of Telugu described a picture for about 2-3 minutes.

The utterances were transcribed in The International Phonetic Alphabet and classified into separate intonation units by 2 speech pathologists. Later, 3 speech pathologists independently identified the primary stressed syllable in each intonation unit i.e., the most prominent syllable.

The percentage frequency occurrence of stress on specific syllable position in each intonation unit was calculated. The outcome of the study suggest that phrasal stress is variable and can occur on any syllable in a sentence. However, it more likely occurs on the first 6 syllables.


Stress indicates the most prominent syllable/word in an utterance. The default stress in a sentence is also called the phrasal stress or sentence stress. The emphatic sentence stress serves to highlight, focus, contrast, comment, or indicate new information and it contributes to identification of intonation pattern of a sentence (Hirst, 1977).

The stress in an utterance is also reported to occur in certain position in an utterance in some languages. An important feature of English intonation is the use of an intonational accent (and extra stress) to mark the focus of a sentence. Normally this focus falls on the last major word of sentence, but it can occur earlier in the order to emphasize one of the earlier words or to contrast it with something else (Russell, 1997).

Thus the default phrasal stress in English is reported to occur on the last major word (Russell, 1997), where as in Kannada language, it reportedly occurs on the first few syllables (Manjula, 1997).

In Tamil, which is a Dravidian language of India, the stress is reported to occur on the first syllable of a phrase (Ashtamurthy, 2003). Thirumalai & Gayathri (1988) too reported that although there is no word stress in Indian languages, the sentence stress occurs at the beginning of a sentence.

Another type of stress is the contrastive stress which marks comment or psychological predicate in an utterance (Hornby & Haas, 1970). It can occur on almost any element on an utterance. Its occurrence on a particular element is linked to specific situational and contextual aspects of discourse and to speaker-hearer presuppositions. It is related, in particular, to the element he/she wishes to place into focus. Bates and Macwhinney (1979) noted that contrastive stress is the device speakers' use most often when the point of an utterance is to contradict or replace some aspect of the listener's beliefs.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

The Linguistics of Newspaper Advertising in Nigeria | Women in Advertisements | Case-Assignment Under Government in Modern Literary Arabic | Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Very Young Learners: A Case from Turkey | Association of Self Fashioning and Circumstances in Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin | A Moral Lesson, Amoral Lesion - Sharon Pollock's The Komagata Maru Incident | Pariksha: Test by Prem Chand | Treatment of City in Nayantara Sahgal's Storm in Chandigarh | Phrasal Stress in Telugu | Stress Among ELT Teachers: A Study of Performance Evaluation from a Private Secondary School in Haryana | Willa Cather’s Portrayal of the Pioneer Virtues in Alexandra Bergson with Reference to O Pioneers! | Man-Woman Relationship in Nayantara Sahgal's Mistaken Identity | Classroom Management and Quality Control - An Action Research | Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha - A Dualist Spiritual Journey | Impact of Dramatics on Composition Skills of Secondary School English Language Learners in Pakistan | Narrative Technique, Language and Style in R. K. Narayan's Works | Diasporic Crisis of Dual Identity in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake | To Teach or Not to Teach Grammar isn't the Question Any Longer - A Case for Consciousness-Raising Tasks | Cognitive Flexibility in Children with Learning Disability | Coda Deletion in Yemeni Tihami Dialect (YTD)- Autosegmental Analysis | The Enigmatic Maya in Anita Desai's
Cry, The Peacock
| Developing an English Curriculum for a Premedical Program | The Ties of Kinship in Rohinton Mistry's Novels | Indian English: A Linguistic Reality | The Unpredictability of the Sonority of English Words | Women's Representation in Polity: A Need to Enhance Their Participation | Nandhini Oza's Concern for the Tribal Welfare in "The Dam Shall Not Be Built" | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF MARCH 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of March 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Gouri Shanker Patil, M. Sc. (Speech & Hearing) & Ph.D. (Speech & Hearing)
(Author for correspondence)
Manovikas Nagar
Secunderabad - 500 009
Andhra Pradesh, India

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