How to identify the stressed syllable of any English word

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

fucking-photograph
pho-fucking-tographer
photo-fucking-graphic

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