Presentation and Practice: Stress

About Stress

Stress--i.e. where (and whether) emphasis is placed in a word, is an important aspect of pronunciation.

There are word pairs in Spanish that are identical except for stress placement. Too, some Spanish words that closely resemble English differ in their stress placement.

  Spanish Word Pairs With Contrasting Stress  
Click the ► symbol. Following along with the script below, repeat after the speaker, noting the differences in stress placement.
    papa papá  
    estudio estudió  
    esta está  
    gusto gustó  
    hacia hacia  
    sábana sabana  
    continuo continúo continuó  
    escribe escríbeme escríbemela  
    Mis papás no comen papas.  
    Hacía un viaje hacia el norte.  
    Cuenta una historia. Cuéntala ahora. Cuéntamela a mí.  
    To focus on word stress, repeat as the speaker pronounces the word aeróbico five different ways; only the last pronunciation is correct.  
    aerobico X aerobico X aerobico X aerobico X aeróbico  


  English and Spanish Stress Contrasts  
Click the ► symbol. To compare some stress differences, repeat the English and Spanish words after the speakers, following along with the script.
  English Spanish  
  optimist optimista  
  capitalism capitalismo  
  competent competente  
  liberal liberal  
  popular popular  
  sociable sociable  
  active activo  
  history historia  
  philosophy filosofía  
  theory teoría  
  modern moderno  
  modest moderno  
  famous famoso  
  Now repeat the following sentences:  
  Juana es liberal y muy sociable. Es paciente y competente.  
  Pablo es activo e idealista. Es una persona muy modesta.  
  Esa teoría del capitalismo es muy popular. El profesor famoso la explica bien.