Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
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?
Classics Deptartment, retired
The simple answer is that the British English stress system differs from the American,
and I would say it's been diverging.
Analyzing English stress is complicated by a number of factors, so unfortunately I can't
be more specific.
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