Sunday, September 18, 2022

How to Pronounce: Word Stress – Place Names in the United States

VOA Learning English: How to Pronounce: Word Stress – Place Names in the United States

Imagine you are visiting the United States. Perhaps you see major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas. Perhaps you see places like Mount Rainier, Mount Rushmore, Central Park.

In terms of pronunciation, there is something common to all of these place names. 

No, I’m not talking about vowels and consonants. I’m talking about word stress – saying a word louder or in a higher pitch. 

In previous pronunciation videos, we explored word stress in terms of phrasal nouns, phrasal verbs, even abbreviations. But there are certain ways that Americans pronounce place names too. 

In general, Americans place more stress on the last word of a place name. 

What would happen if the stress were placed on the first word? It might sound something like this:

  • New York

Such a pronunciation might sound a little unusual or different to an American. 

But how does the place name sound when stress is placed on the last word?  

  • New York

Listen again to some famous American place names. Note how I stress the last word of the name: 

  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • Mount Rainier
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Central Park

That’s all for today! Keep up the good work!