Conscript

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The noun and verb written conscript are pronounced differently - they have different stress.

  • The verb 'to conscript' means 'to make a person serve [in the armed forces] by force of law'; synonyms 'to call [someone] up' and 'to draft someone'. This has the stress on the second syllable, 'kern-SCRIPT', IPA: /kə (or ɒ)n ˈskrɪpt/.
  • The noun 'a conscript' has the stress on the first syllable: 'CON-script', IPA: /ˈkɒn skrɪpt/.
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.