Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: British Pronunciation
Question: I have heard BBC speakers pronounce these words with emphasis on the syllable in caps: CONtribute, REfuse (as in I refuse to be...) There are lots of others where Brits routinely stress a different syllable than Americans. Why is this? Thanks, Cynthia Dessen Classics Deptartment, retired UNC-Chapel Hill
Reply: We could also ask your question the other way around, right? Why do Americans stress words differently than Brits. Languages exist because of people, so they change as much as people do, sometimes for no clear reasons. Vocabulary and grammar are also different in different varieties of what we like to call the “same” language. This book might be of interest to you: Algeo, J. (2006). _British or American English? A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns_. Cambridge University Press. I can’t recall whether it deals with word stress patterns, but it could be an entertaining read anyway. Madalena
Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
Date: 29-Jan-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: British Pronunciation    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (30-Jan-2013)
  2. Re: British Pronunciation    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (29-Jan-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions