placement of stress in Czech words

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placement of stress in Czech words

Postby buck » 08-May-03 14:54

I am a new student of Czech using the Pimsleur tapes for self-study. I keep reading and hearing that the stress in Czech is ALWAYS on the first syllable of a word, and yet in several words (for example "dobry'" in the phrase "dobry' den" and "Americ<an") the male Czech speaker on my tapes seems to be placing the stress on the 2nd syllable: "do-BREE den", "a-ME-ri-c<an". So I feel like I'm saying it wrong when I say "DO-bree den".

Is the stress always on the first syllable?

De<kuji for any thoughts!
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Postby Jana » 09-May-03 4:01

Yes, the stress in Czech is on the first syllable, it is more the length of long vowels that makes them seem stressed. However, the role of stress is much less important than in English. It is more influenced by the speaker (some people speak in a rather monotonous way) or by emotions (the meaning of speech or the excitement of the speaker). That is why the Czechs find it difficult to learn the stress and intonation of the English language.
Good luck in your Czech studies!
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Postby Dana » 09-May-03 4:28

It is also possible that what you're hearing and what sounds to you like stress being placed on the 2nd syllable, might be caused by the speaker's intonation. If he goes up with his voice on the second syllable, such as in "do-BREE den", it may sound like he's stressing that syllable. Like Jana said, stress can be hard to detect in Czech speech and is less noticeable than it is in English.
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Postby buck » 09-May-03 10:08

Great! I feel much better now. I did suspect that the long vowels were throwing me off in some cases, and in other cases I probably am confusing intonation with stress. And it's also very good to know that stress is not as important in Czech as in English.
Thanks very much!

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