Syllables in English words don't all have the same level of loudness. Some are loud, some are short and quiet, some are in between. English has three levels of stress:


ˈnʌf]     enough
[ˌmænəˈtobə]     Manitoba
[ˈfotəˌɡɹæf]     photograph

A good example of the difference between secondary stress and the complete absence of stress is the final syllable of delegate, used as a verb and used as a noun.

[ˈdɛləˌɡet]     verb: You have to delegate your responsibilities
[ˈdɛləɡət]     noun: We elected a delegate to the national committee.


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