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Unit 15. 'Subway and 'Super,power.

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Prefixes and Word Stress (2)

Unit 15; Part A

In some words with prefixes, the prefix itself is stressed. Most of these words are shown as having main stress on the prefix and, in some cases, secondary stress later in the word:
       subway    /'sΛbweι/    superpower    /'su:p∂,pau∂r/

Most words like this are nouns and include:

    
'co-driver           
'co-writer
'co-star

'sub,section
'subtext
'subsoil
'counterat,tack      
'counter,claim
'counterpart

'super,market
'super,structure
'super,model
'hyperspace         
'hypertext
'hyperlink

'under,current
'undergrowth
'underwear
'interface
'interchange
'interplay    

In these words the syllable with main stress usually has prominence in discourse:

       We took the SUBway.    I'm j ust off to the SUpermarket.

Unit 15; Part B

However, other words with these prefixes have main stress on a syllable afer the prefix. Most words like this are adjectives and include:
      
,co-edu'cation       
co'operate
,co-e'xist

,sub'conscious
sub'standard
,sub'tropical
,counterin'telligence  
,counterpro'ductive
,counter'mand

,super'natural
,supera'bundant
,superim'pose
,hyper'active           
,hyper'sensitive
,hyper'critical

,under'cover
,under'line
,under'age
,inter'changeable
,interconti'nental
,inter'active

In these words the syllable with main stress usually has prominence in conversation:

         They have to learn to co-eXIST    The climate here is subTROPical.

but prominence may go on the syllable with secondary stress in some cases
(see C).

Unit 15; Part C

In many words with a prefix, there is secondary stress on the prefix, with main stress later in the word:
      ,impre'cise             ,disa'gree             ,hyper'active
 
When these words are used in conversation they can have stress shift (see Unit 10B), with the prefix made prominent rather than the main stressed syllable. Compare:
      Her answer was impreCISE.    but:  She gave an IMprecise ANswer.
     He's hyperACtive.    but:   I work with HYperactive CHILdren.
     He disaGREED.   but:  He DISagreed STRONGly.
 15.1.jpg
Here are some more words with prefixes which commonly have stress shift: ,decom'pose  ,de'code  ,diso'bedient  ,disre'spectful  ,imma'ture  ,impo'lite  ,mis'place   ,mis'spelt   ,recon'sider  ,repro'duce   ,unac'ceptable   ,unsuc'cessful

However, some other words with these prefixes rarely have stress shift, including: de'fame  dis'honest  im'practical  ,mis'judge  re'place  un'popular.

 



Exercises

flag.jpgHere are the titles of some research papers given at a conference on education. Look at the words in bold some are given in A opposite and underline the syllable that you think will be prominent.
Key.1 co-education
2 subconscious
3 interface
4 underachievers; subtitles
5 Superstars; counteroffensive (counteroffensive is also possible)
6 supernatural; undercurrents
7 co-writers; hypertext
8 international; counterparts

Example: Why do children become hyperactive?

Conference
Time
Room
No.
Coffee
Break @
1  Assessing the benefits of co-education
12.00
13  12.30
2  Activating the subconscious for reading development 
12.00
11
12.30
3  Technology and tradition in the classroom: exploring the interface
12.30
14
13.15
4  Motivating underachievers: using subtitles in language learning
13.00
13
13.30
Superstars as role models for children: going on the counteroffensive
14.00
14
14.45
6  Children's interest in the supernatural: some worrying undercurrents
14.00
10
14.30
7  Teachers and pupils as co-writers: an experiment in the use of hypertext
15.00
15
15.30
8  Making science education international: a study of British teachers and their Kenyan counterparts
14.45
 13  15.15

Now listen and check your answers. Then read the titles aloud.

flag.jpgMatch each word 1-7 with a word from the list a-g. Matched words must have the same number of syllables and follow the same stress pattern. Words 1-7 are from A and B opposite.
Key.2 g (oooOo)
3 d (ooOoo)
4 f (Ooo)
5 a (oOo)
6 e (Oooo)
7 b (ooOo)

Example: 1-c     (co-exist and interlinked both have three syllables with main stress on the last syllable - ооO)

1    со exist
2    counterproductive   
3    interchangeable   
4    hyperspace   
5    substandard   
6    superstructure   
7    undercover 
a   cohabit
b   counterclockwise
c   interlinked
d   hypersensitive
e   subcommittee
f    superstore
g   underdeveloped
  
Now listen and check your answers. Then listen again and repeat the words. 
flag.jpgFocus on the words in bold (some are given in C opposite), and underline the syllable you think is likely to have prominence. Which words have stress shift (that is, prominence on the prefix), and which do not?
Key.* indicates stress shift
1 impractical
2 review
3 impolite*
4 misplaced *
5 dishonest
6 dehydrated*
7 undressed

15.2.jpgExample: He was sacked for unacceptable conduct. (has stress shift)
1    She was wearing impractical shoes.
2    The government has promised to review hospital funding.
3    He tends to use rather impolite language.
4    There were too many misplaced passes in the football match.
5    The police have prosecuted a number of dishonest landlords.
6    The cream is very good for dehydrated skin.
7    He undressed quickly.

Now listen and check your answers. Then listen again and repeat the sentences.
 

Follow up:  What other words do you know beginning sub-  or  super-? Where do they have their main stress? (Use a dictionary to check.)


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