Joeleonhart’s Weblog

To Learn and To Share

Word Stress

Although I learned “sentence intonation,” to be honest with you, I did
not learn “word stress” at all in Indonesia.

“Word stress is your magic key to understanding spoken English. Native
speakers of English use word stress naturally. Word stress is so natural for
them that they don’t even know they use it. Non-native speakers who speak
English to native speakers without using word stress, encounter two

1. They find it difficult to understand native speakers, especially those
speaking fast.
2. The native speakers may find it difficult to understand them. ”

“There are many two-syllable words in English whose meaning and class change
with a change in stress.
The word present, for example is a two-syllable word. If we stress the first
syllable, it is a noun (gift) or
an adjective (opposite of absent). But if we stress the second syllable, it
becomes a verb (to offer). ”

You can also find a web link to help you reduce your accent. We may think
that we speak English fluently. However, if we still have “strong” Java,
Sunda, Batak, Bali, etc accent, native speakers may not be able to
understand us properly. 🙂

If we would like to improve our English, we should study not only basic English
grammar but also English style and English usage. You may think that your grammar is good. However, please understand that language is part of culture and daily life. If your grammar is good but native speakers do not use “your” English style, you may not be able to communicate seamlessly with them. Unfortunately, we do not learn proper English style in Indonesia.

One of the best books to learn English style is “The Chicago Manual of Style” published by the University of Chicago. Fortunately, this book is now available online. Please visit

“The bible of the publishing and research community is now available on your
desktop. The Chicago Manual of Style Online is completely searchable and easy to use, providing quick answers to your style and editing questions.”

Other sources:

Good luck,

Ahmad Syamil


June 7, 2008 - Posted by | Learn English - Speaking

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