, vocal stress
is the accent
or emphasis given to each syllable
in a piece of writing, as determined by conventional pronunciation. The amount and importance of vocal stress varies in languages
. In some languages, vocal stress can determine the meaning of a word.
For example, in English, the word record changes its meaning according to vocal stress:
- record, the noun
- record, the verb
in English depends upon vocal stress to establish the meter
of the poem. The vocal stress is usually thought of as strong or weak. Some people distinguish a third, intermediate stress level.
Example: In the word reconsider, the stress pattern is 'recon'sider (intermediate - weak - strong - weak).