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zoltankr Jan 11th, 2015 06:51 pm

American English Word Stress
Hi, this question: Can I be frank?

phonetically looks like:
kæn aɪ bi fræŋk

Can is a modal verb and it can be reduced:
kən aɪ bi fræŋk

I read this in an American accent book:

When a word ends in a consonant and the next word begins with a vowel, connect the final consonant to the next vowel, making it sound as if the second word starts with a consonant
So, I linked Can with I:

n_aɪ bi fræŋk

I'm not sure about the word stress, tough. I know, we have two content words: "be" is a verb and "frank" is an adjective. Are both stressed?

Any suggestion is appreciated.

susan53 Jan 12th, 2015 09:14 am

Re: American English Word Stress
"be" is only the copula ( a linking verb necessary in English for grammatical reasons), not a "content" word, so would be unlikely to be stressed. Only the adjective frank would be likely to carry stress, unless of course there was a contrastive element implied by one of the other words. So the most likely pronunciation would be :

/kən_aɪ bɪ 'fræŋk/ or even /kən_ə bɪ 'fræŋk/

with "I" and "be" also subject to vowel reduction as they are in unstressed position. If any other word was stressed, (contrastive stress aside) it would probably be "can"

/kæn_ə bɪ 'fræŋk/

Incidentally, this is a matter of sentence stress rather than word stress, and it's phonemic rather than phonetic script - but the answer remains the same :) It doesn't make much difference in this case whether it's US English or any other variety, either.

zoltankr Feb 12th, 2015 10:51 am

Re: American English Word Stress
Thanks for your reply. Your time is greatly appreciated.

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