Accent (pronunciation)

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The word accent is pronounced differently according to whether it is a verb or a noun.

  • The noun 'an accent' is stressed on the first syllable, 'AX-ent', IPA: /ˈæks ɛnt/.
  • The verb 'to accent' (to stress, usually a syllable) has the stress on the second syllable, 'ax-SENT', IPA: /æks ˈɛnt/.
    • The -ed participle, used as an adjective to mean '[speaking an] English whose sound shows that the speaker is not a native speaker of English, is accented, with stress on the second syllable: 'ax-SENT-ed', IPA: /æks ˈɛnt əd/.

You may also want to see other articles about accent.

  • For the way in which different speakers sound, see Accent and dialect.
  • For the written marks, see written accent.
  • For the phenomenon in pronunciation where one unit is made stronger, see stress.
=====Note=====
This pattern of shifting stress in words that look identical but belong to two separate word classes is quite common in English. Quirk (1985) (Appendix I.56 B) remarks: "When verbs of two syllables are converted into nouns, the stress is sometimes shifted from the second to the first syllable. The first syllable, typically a Latin prefix, often has a reduced vowel /ə/ in the verb but a full vowel in the noun:
He was con-VICT-ed (IPA: /kən ˈvɪkt ɪd/) of theft, and so became a CON vict (IPA: /ˈkɒn vɪkt/)" (AWE's rendition of IPA).
There follows a list of some 57 "words having end-stress as verbs but initial stress as nouns in Br[itish] E[nglish]." Note that "in Am[erican] E[nglish], many have initial stress as verbs also". Quirk's list is the foundation of AWE's category:shift of stress. Additions have been made from, amongst others, Fowler, 1926-1996.