Seidova Aysoltan
Magtymguly Turkmen State University
Lecturer in the Department of English Stylistics and Grammar

This article explores the concept of rhythm in English phrases, focusing on the placement of emphasis and the role of logical stress. Logical stress, achieved through intonation accent, highlights specific words within a sentence to contrast or enhance their significance. The article demonstrates how logical stress alters meaning by emphasizing words typically not subject to phrasal stress. Additionally, it discusses the flexibility of logical stress, which can highlight prepositions, auxiliary verbs, pronouns, or articles. The article illuminates the diverse ways speakers can convey emphasis and meaning through logical stress in English pronunciation.

Keywords: intonation, logical stress, pronunciation, rhythm

Category: 10.00.00 Philology

Article reference:
Seidova A. The intricacies of logical stress in English speech // Modern scientific researches and innovations. 2024. № 2 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

In almost all languages existing today, stress performs a number of important functions – depending on the characteristics of its placement, you can understand the meaning of the word, set the rhythm necessary for perception to phrases and sentences, and ensure that the attention of listeners is drawn to a particular object or phenomenon. Stress in words in the English language is also a necessary component of correct speech – and therefore it is worth trying to learn as much as possible about this phenomenon and fully understand its significance.

Stress is a primarily phonetic concept, since its reproduction is possible exclusively with the help of acoustic means – such as intensity, pitch, duration of the stressed vowel. Thus, English is characterized by the forceful emphasis of a syllable, while in Swedish and Japanese the so-called musical stress, in which the pitch of the tone changes, is considered generally accepted [1, p. 48].

Currently the language uses the following:

• verbal – highlighting a syllable to understand the meaning of a specific word;

• phrasal – allows you to set the speech correctly, comfortable for hearing and understanding;

• logical – necessary to emphasize a certain word in order to attract attention to it.

When talking in everyday life, we pronounce phrases with expression and can easily distinguish “live” speech from “memorized” speech. In this article I will talk about such a nuance as the rhythm of an English phrase – that is, which words should be emphasized when pronounced. We will also find out whether this changes the meaning and what “logical stress” is.

There are times when we need to draw attention to something special, when we have to emphasize a word that is not subject to phrasal stress. In this case, the stress is called logical.

Logical stress is the highlighting of a word in a sentence more clearly than all other words through intonation accent. Logical stress is necessary to contrast one word with another or enhance its significance.

HE saw that picture.

By placing logical emphasis on the word “he”, we note that it was he who saw this picture, and not she or them.

That day it WAS SNOWING.

By placing logical emphasis on the word WAS, we reinforce the significance of the fact that there really was snowfall.

Logical stress goes beyond the usual phrasal stress, which is constantly present in a sentence. With the help of logical stress, you can highlight a word that is usually unstressed, for example, a preposition, an auxiliary verb, a personal pronoun, or even an article. There are several possible options for using logical stress when pronouncing a sentence, it all depends on which word the speaker wants to highlight [2, p. 34]. Let’s look at the same sentence as an example:

  • THIS palace was built thoroughly.
  • This PALACE was built thoroughly.
  • This palace WAS BUILT thoroughly.
  • This palace was built THOROUGHLY.

Intonation is a combination of various speech components: speech melody, volume, speech tempo, rhythm, and phonation features. These speech techniques can be combined with each other, alternate, change depending on the situation and circumstances. Correct intonation helps convey the semantic nuance of what is being said and helps the interlocutor understand in what mood they are being addressed. Incorrect intonation often becomes the cause of misunderstanding and even mutual dissatisfaction.

Intonation is an important aspect in learning English. Intonation turns perform a whole range of functions, they help:

• convey the mood, give additional meaning to what is said

• separate words, phrases and make speech more harmonious

• correctly format the sentence structure

• place accents, highlight the main points

The same phrase, pronounced with different intonation, can have completely different meanings. With the correct intonation, you can create a positive emotional background during communication, giving the sentence additional meaning and emotional expressiveness. By the intonation of the interlocutor, you can determine his mood, understand how polite and interested he is in communication.

In international English language exams (Cambridge Rule, IELTS, TOEFL, etc.), correctly selected intonation affects the score in the Speaking part. Intonation is an integral part of the fluency parameter.

Intonation in any language is a combination of several components. The main components of intonation are:

• tone or melody of speech, which is manifested by raising or lowering the voice in a phrase

• rhythm of speech, which is determined by the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables

• rate of speech, i.e. its speed and the presence of pauses between speech segments

• voice timbre – using high and low tones of voice to give emotional coloring to speech

• phrasal and logical stress, used to place emphasis and highlight individual words in a sentence

In English, for affirmative sentences and special questions, the descending intonation pattern is considered neutral, i.e. lowering the tone at the end of a sentence. In general questions, native English speakers use rising intonation, i.e. raising the tone at the end of a sentence [3, p. 231]. The same model is used to express distrust, irritation and other negative emotions in statements.

Intonation speaks eloquently about the origin of the speaker and the level of his linguistic knowledge, therefore, when studying the rules of pronunciation of sentences, you should become familiar with such a concept as the melody of the language.

  1. Crystal, D. (2008). A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. John Wiley & Sons.
  2. Roach, P. (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Wells, J. C. (2006). English Intonation: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.

All articles of author «author»

© If you have found a violation of copyrights please notify us immediately by e-mail or feedback form.

Contact author (comments/reviews)

Write comment

You must authorise to write a comment.

Если Вы еще не зарегистрированы на сайте, то Вам необходимо зарегистрироваться:
  • Register