Definition of stress-timed in US English:



  • (of a language) characterized by a rhythm in which primary stresses occur at roughly equal intervals, irrespective of the number of unstressed syllables in between. English is a stress-timed language.

    Contrasted with syllable-timed
    • ‘Native speakers do it automatically, but the speaker of a syllable-timed language who tries to learn a stress-timed language will probably have great trouble mastering the new arrangement of sound patterns.’
    • ‘There is not total agreement among linguists about the stress-timed nature of English.’
    • ‘Therefore some researchers argue for a distinction between stress-timed languages and syllable-timed languages.’
    • ‘Japanese is probably the most perfect example of a syllable-timed language, but French and Brazilian Portuguese are also syllable-timed while Russian and English are markedly stress-timed languages.’
    • ‘If syllables tend to be pronounced faster in longer words, van Santen suggests that this may be because there is more phonetic redundancy in long words, rather than because English is ‘stress-timed’.’
    • ‘It is called the stress-timed rhythm of English.’
    • ‘Many accents of English are said to display mainly stress-timed rhythm.’
    • ‘In other languages, which are not stress-timed the stress would fall more equally on each word and syllable.’



/strɛs taɪmd/