Accent (linguistics)

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The accent (in the 15th or 16th century from the Latin accentus 'actually' "the tinting, the tinting" borrowed from a derivation of the verb accinere "to sing, to tone"; German also the stress ) in linguistics is a suprasegmental property of sounds, words, phrases and sentences. It is used to highlight syllables, words, word groups and sentences. Specifically, one speaks of a word accent , in which a syllable is emphasized, or a sentence accent , in which a word is emphasized.

Come as a means

  • dynamic (sound intensity),
  • more melodic (pitch) and
  • temporal (tone duration)

Accent used. In addition to the main accent, there can be one or more secondary accents. In German , the word accent is mainly realized dynamically and is usually on the first stem syllable .

In poetry, in languages ​​that follow the accentuating verse principle , the verse accent is mainly generated by the strength of the tone (dynamic) and pitch (melodic), while in languages ​​that follow the quantitating principle of verse , the duration of the tone (temporal) and thus the quantity of vowels is decisive . The verse accent can differ from the natural accent because, for example, due to a regular sequence of similar verse feet, an accented syllable is automatically spoken during the presentation even where there is no natural accent . Example:

You are approaching again, swaying figures, ...
◡ — ◡ — ◡ — ◡ — ◡ — ◡

The regular sequence of iambs creates an accentuation on the last syllable of “fluctuating”, which, according to the natural accent (—◡◡), does not exist. The verse accent, in contrast to the natural accent, is also known as ictus ( Latin ictus "blow"), as is the diacritical mark marking the accent (usually an acute accent placed over the syllable vowel or the syllable mark for the main accent and a grave accent for the secondary accent).

When pitch accent it comes to the temporal variation or the course of the pitch and the volume within a vowel or (rarely) half vowel .

The role that the accent plays within a language is also used to typify languages. One differentiates:

  • Accent languages in which the word accent is phonologized and meaningful. Examples are German, English and Polish .
  • Tonal languages in which a word accent does not exist and the pitch is meaningful. Examples are Chinese and related languages.
  • Pitch accent languages , which have characteristics of accented and tonal languages. Examples are Japanese and Swedish .


Web links

Wiktionary: accent  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Digital dictionary of the German language : Akzent
  2. ^ Friedrich Kluge: Etymological dictionary of the German language. 24th edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2001, ISBN 978-3-11-017473-1 , p. 26.
  3. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe : Faust I, 1 f. (Appropriation)
  4. ^ Tracy Alan Hall: Phonology. An introduction. de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 2011, ISBN 978-3-11-021587-8 , pp. 277ff.