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  • Hello, my name is Jessica.

  • Preparation is key in any exam, and the Cambridge English speaking test is no exception.

  • There are lots of factors to consider in the speaking test.

  • For example, pronunciation, intonation, vowel sound and stress.

  • Stress is very important.

  • It helps you understand that is because of English.

  • And it also helps other people to understand you, especially when speaking at speed.

  • One thing that learners of all level sometimes find confusing is when the meaning of a word depends on how you stress it.

  • So, let's take a closer look at word stress.

  • There are many two-syllable words in English.

  • Take this word, for example.

  • Which syllable would you stress?

  • The first? The second? Or are both acceptable?

  • Present or present?

  • Does the meaning change?

  • Yes, it does.

  • Present is a noun, meaning a gift.

  • Present is a verb with several meanings. For example, to show and to make a presentation.

  • Here are some more examples.

  • To object.

  • And an object.

  • To import, and an import.

  • To contract, and a contract.

  • To export, and an export.

  • In all of these examples, the word is a verb when the second syllable is stressed.

  • And a noun when the first syllable is stressed.

  • How can you best learn word stress?

  • You'll need both time and experience.

  • So listen carefully to native speakers and try to develop the feeling for the rhythm of the language.

  • You can also keep a record of which syllable is stressed in your vocabulary notebook.

  • For example, by underlining the stressed syllable.

  • There're many different varieties of English accents in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

  • They're all acceptable.

  • Comprehensible pronunciation is what's tested in the exam.

  • And stress plays a major part in this.

  • Your accent is not something to worry about in the test as long as you can be understood.

  • Don't forget you could look up stress in any good dictionary.

  • Thank you for watching.

Hello, my name is Jessica.

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