Stress is a combination of an increased relative intensity and higher pitch over a particular syllable, marking prominence between syllables (Zsiga, 2013, p. 354). Not all languages have stress systems, however. Languages that do have stress have a primary stress can also have secondary stress. Stress assignment rules (how a language determines which syllable receives stress) are language-specific and is a part of a native speaker’s competence of their language.
The possible stress systems are:
Stress is marked with a vertical line [ˈ] over the first sound of the syllable. Secondary stress is marked with a vertical line [ˌ] below the first sound of the syllable.
- Both examples, taken from Demers & Horn (1978), contain primary stress over the vowel of the first syllable of the word. Indicated with the accent over the respective vowels.