Tonic Syllable – What it is, how to identify it and examples

We explain what a stressed syllable is, how it is identified and various examples. Also, what is an unstressed syllable.

tonic syllable
The stressed syllable may or may not have an accent.

What is a stressed syllable?

Words in Spanish can be separated into syllables, despite the fact that when pronouncing them we do it in a row. Between them, syllables that receive a greater load of intonation than the others are called stressed syllables, while the other syllables pronounced without said voice emphasis are unstressed syllables.

Usually, a word has a single stressed syllable, in which an accent or accent may (or may not) appear, where applicable. Of course, in monosyllable words, the only syllable there is will always be the stressed syllable.

In Spanish, it is important to be able to recognize the stressed syllable of words, since ours is a language with a phonologically relevant accent, that is, the location of the stressed syllable affects the very meaning of words, as is evident in the case of “mood” (noun), “animated” (verb in the past) and animo (verb in the present).

How to identify the stressed syllable?

It is simple to identify the stressed syllable of a word. Input, we can find it quickly if the word has an accent or accent: this will always go in the stressed syllable of the word, whatever it is. But in cases where there is no accent, just pronounce the word marking the syllables separately, to see which of them stands out from the rest.

For example, if we wanted to find the stressed syllable of the word “cabin”, it would be enough to separate its syllables and pronounce them aloud: “ca-bi-na”. That leaves us with three possible options (we will capitalize the possible stressed syllable):

  • Cabin
  • Cabin
  • Cabin

The mere emphatic pronunciation will make us realize that the second option is the only possible one, since otherwise the word would be “cabin“Or”cabin”.

Unstressed syllable

Just as there are stressed syllables, there are unstressed syllables. The unstressed are the syllables that are not pronounced with emphasis. So, taking the previous example, we already know that the stressed syllable of “cabin” is the intermediate one (“bi”). So the other two syllables, the initial (ca) and the final (na) will necessarily be unstressed syllables.

Examples of stressed syllables

Here are some examples of stressed syllables in words of different types (again, the stressed syllable will appear in capital letters):

  • pebble: gui-JA-rro.
  • chameleon: ca-ma-LEÓN.
  • apocalypse: a-po-ca-lip-sis.
  • merits: MÉ-ri-tos.
  • camouflage oneself: ca-mu-FLAR-se.
  • song Song.
  • merchants: co-mer-CIAN-tes.
  • liver: HÍ-ga-do.
  • laces: a-gu-JE-tas.
  • relieve: a-li-VIAR.
  • Sun Sun.
  • incandescent: in-can-des-CEN-te.
  • programmed: pro-gra-MÓ.
  • mononucleosis: mo-no-nu-CLEO-sis.
  • fledgling: CIER-nes.
  • hippo: hi-po-PÓ-ta-mo.
  • gizzard: mo-LLE-ja.
  • they bark: LA-dran.
  • boredom: a-bu-rri-MIEN-to.
  • chase: per-se-GUIR.
  • monster: MONS-truo.
  • place: mon-GAR.
  • oxidant: o-xi-DAN-te.
  • comedian: CÓ-mi-co.