accentless, adj.accentuable /ak sen"chooh euh beuhl/, adj.
n. /ak"sent/; v. /ak"sent, ak sent"/, n.
1. prominence of a syllable in terms of differential loudness, or of pitch, or length, or of a combination of these.
2. degree of prominence of a syllable within a word and sometimes of a word within a phrase: primary accent; secondary accent.
3. a mark indicating stress, vowel quality (as French grave `, acute ´, circumflex ^), form (as French la "the" versus "there"), or pitch.
4. any similar mark.
5. Pros.
a. regularly recurring stress.
b. a mark indicating stress or some other distinction in pronunciation or value.
6. a musical tone or pattern of pitch inherent in a particular language either as a feature essential to the identification of a vowel or a syllable or to the general acoustic character of the language. Cf. tone (def. 7).
7. Often, accents.
a. the unique speech patterns, inflections, choice of words, etc., that identify a particular individual: We recognized his accents immediately. She corrected me in her usual mild accents.
b. the distinctive style or tone characteristic of an author, composer, etc.: the unmistakably Brahmsian accents of the sonata; She recognized the familiar accents of Robert Frost in the poem.
8. a mode of pronunciation, as pitch or tone, emphasis pattern, or intonation, characteristic of or peculiar to the speech of a particular person, group, or locality: French accent; Southern accent. Cf. tone (def. 5).
9. such a mode of pronunciation recognized as being of foreign origin: He still speaks with an accent.
10. Music.
a. a stress or emphasis given to certain notes.
b. a mark noting this.
c. stress or emphasis regularly recurring as a feature of rhythm.
11. Math.
a. a symbol used to distinguish similar quantities that differ in value, as in b', b", b"' (called b prime, b second or b double prime, b third or b triple prime, respectively).
b. a symbol used to indicate a particular unit of measure, as feet (') or inches ("), minutes (') or seconds (").
c. a symbol used to indicate the order of a derivative of a function in calculus, as f' (called f prime) is the first derivative of a function f.
12. words or tones expressive of some emotion.
13. accents, words; language; speech: He spoke in accents bold.
14. distinctive character or tone: an accent of whining complaint.
15. special attention, stress, or emphasis: an accent on accuracy.
16. a detail that is emphasized by contrasting with its surroundings: a room decorated in navy blue with two red vases as accents.
17. a distinctive but subordinate pattern, motif, color, flavor, or the like: The salad dressing had an accent of garlic.
18. to pronounce with prominence (a syllable within a word or a word within a phrase): to accent the first syllable of "into"; to accent the first word of "White House."
19. to mark with a written accent or accents.
20. to give emphasis or prominence to; accentuate.
[1520-30; < L accentus speaking tone, equiv. to ac- AC- + -centus, comb. form of cantus song (see CANTO); trans. of Gk prosoidía PROSODY]

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In prosody, a rhythmically significant stress on the syllables of a verse, usually at regular intervals.

Though the term is often used interchangeably with stress, some prosodists use accent to mean the emphasis determined by normal language usage and stress to mean emphasis determined by metrical pattern.

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      in phonetics, that property of a syllable which makes it stand out in an utterance relative to its neighbouring syllables. The emphasis on the accented syllable relative to the unaccented syllables may be realized through greater length, higher or lower pitch, a changing pitch contour, greater loudness, or a combination of these characteristics.

      Accent has various domains: the word, the phrase, and the sentence. Word accent (also called word stress, or lexical stress) is part of the characteristic way in which a language is pronounced. Given a particular language system, word accent may be fixed, or predictable (e.g., in French, where it occurs regularly at the end of words, or in Czech, where it occurs initially), or it may be movable, as in English, which then leaves accent free to function to distinguish one word from another that is identical segmentally (e.g., the noun permit versus the verb permit). Similarly, accent can be used at the phrasal level to distinguish sequences identical at the segmental level (e.g., “light housekeeping” versus “lighthouse keeping,” or “blackboard” versus “black board”). Finally, accent may be used at the sentence level to draw attention to one part of the sentence rather than another (e.g., “What did you sign?” “I signed a contract to do some light housekeeping.” versus “Who signed a contract?” “I signed a contract to do some light housekeeping.”).

      in prosody, a rhythmically significant stress on the syllables of a verse, usually at regular intervals. The word accent is often used interchangeably with stress, though some prosodists use accent to mean the emphasis that is determined by the normal meaning of the words while stress is used to mean metrical (metre) emphasis. In classical prosody, which was based on a quantitative approach to verse rather than the modern stress-based system, accent was used to determine the relative quantity and prominence of a syllable based on sound. For the Greeks, accent was explained as a difference in musical pitch, usually higher, used in the pronunciation of a word. When prosody ceased to be based on quantity, the accent changed from variation of pitch to variation of force or emphasis.

also called  Stress,  

      in music, momentary emphasis on a particular rhythmic or melodic detail; accent may be implied or specifically indicated, either graphically for example, >, —) or verbally (sforzato, abbreviated sfz). In metrically organized music, accents serve to articulate rhythmic groupings, especially in dances where regular accentuation facilitates the patterning of steps. As a rule, the heaviest accent falls on the first beat of the measure (actually it is the accent that determines where the measure begins). In compound metres a lesser accent marks the beginning of the second half of the measure (e.g., the third beat in 4/4 or the fourth in 6/8).

      Entire measures, also, may be subject to greater or lesser accentuation, which contributes vitally to meaningful phrasing, especially in periodically structured music. Dynamic accents, realized through a temporary increase in sonorous volume, are to be distinguished from agogic accents, produced by slight durational extensions. Regular implied accents may be temporarily displaced through the process known as syncopation (q.v.). In a typical instance, the accent on the first beat will be suppressed by a quarter rest followed by a half note (in 4/4). Or, instead of being replaced by a rest, the first beat may be tied across the bar line to the last note of the preceding measure.

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