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Friday, April 11, 2014

Secondary Stress in Spanish

There is an emphatic style of speaking that emphasizes the secondary stress, normally very weak in Spanish. I'm listening to a lecture now and just heard the lecturer say


Normally you would say "interpretación, and the secondary stress, very weak, would be on the syllable "pre."

He also says "cualquier caso." That is interesting because the real stress should be cualquier. I'll have to look to see whether the "rhythm rule" has been documented in Spanish, where stress clashes are avoided through leftward shift of stress. An example in English would be the difference between "Tennessee," and "Tennessee Williams."

I find that in my own lecturing mode in class I do speak, also, in that more emphatic mode. It has the advantage of being easy to understand and dynamic, well, emphatic.

The one article I've found documents the emphatic style in newscasts and the like. Where I'm going with this is an approach to stress clash in versification, where the norm, for Spanish is iambic or trochaic, and stress clashes tend to occur with relatively stressless prepositions.


Vance Maverick said...

Unrelated question to which I suspect you know the answer. It's a truism that it's easier to rhyme in Italian than in English, and I imagine the same goes for Spanish too. Has this been quantified? There are many metrics I could imagine defining, but I'd like to know what's actually been measured.

Jonathan said...

Verb inflections: it is very easy to rhyme the same form of the verb, or past participles in -ado or -ido.

The fact that there are fewer vowel sounds also facilitates rhyme

Finally, the simpler syllabic structure. The "rhyme" of the syllable in Spanish consists of a single vowel, or a vowel and one consonant.

So yes, it is quite a bit easier to rhyme in Spanish than in English.

Vance Maverick said...

Thanks. So, I gather you aren't aware of any measurements of the ease of rhyming. ;-)

Jonathan said...

I don't know how you'd measure it. ! You would have to have statistics on frequency of combinations of phonemes and syllables. Not just what is permissible but what is frequent. I guess rhyming dictionaries would be a place to start. Here's a typical example that relies on -ido, -ada, and -ada. The other rhyme in the poem is -ores. So the plural of any noun in -or fits. Licores, amores, primores, recitadores, flores, rumores, dolores... It is child's play. It is a classic poem but the rhyming itself seems a bit lazy.

Este que ves, engaño colorido,
que, del arte ostentando los primores,
con falsos silogismos de colores
es cauteloso engaño del sentido;

éste, en quien la lisonja ha pretendido
excusar de los años los horrores,
y venciendo del tiempo los rigores
triunfar de la vejez y del olvido,

es un vano artificio del cuidado,
es una flor al viento delicada,
es un resguardo inútil para el hado:

es una necia diligencia errada,
es un afán caduco y, bien mirado,
es cadáver, es polvo, es sombra, es nada.