How to identify the stressed syllable of any English word

October 14, 2007 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Language | 8 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

It works by using your intuition. I found it here (via. J.A. from Cape Town):

As an aside, once, whilst drinking with a psycholinguist (say that after a few pints) I was taught a useful way of quickly working out the stressed syllable in any English word – something which is apparently called the ‘fuck test’.

Simply insert the word ‘fucking’ into the word, as if you were using the swear word for emphasis, and the syllable that follows the ‘fucking’ is the stressed syllable.

For example, absolutely -> abso-fucking-lutely. The stressed syllable is the third: i.e. absolutely. It works for every multi-syllable word I’ve found so far.

Which just goes to show that psycholinguists are some of the coolest melonfarmers in the whole of cognitive science.

I am no longer an English teacher, but my guess is that students would love this method to memorize stress patters:



RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. it even works with acronyms. Before reading your post, I wrote my own blog post for the day and used the following word: ISDfuckingN (ISDN) – coincidence eh 😉

    still, it proves the point. The stress, in ISDN, is of course on the ‘N’.

  2. Hahaha… thats interesting.. but din work for me.. did it for u?

  3. It did work for me, but I am sure wouldn’t help if I didn’t know a word already.

  4. its good

  5. its interesting but does not go with all the words.

    • maybe you’re pronouncing those words wrong?

  6. I tested this on the roses are red violets re blue poem and it does not work with violets. I have been researching this for over a week now and have yet to find a way to teach this to my class. If you ever find a full-proof test let me know.

  7. Not understood… more light on it, pls..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: