Though English stress is free there are certain factors or tendencies that determine the place and different degrees of word stress.
Vassiliev describes them as follows:
Recessive tendency is when stress falls on the first syllable which is generally the root syllable . It can be of 2 subtypes:
Unstriked – is observed in the native English words and in the assimilated French borrowings having no prefix. ('mother, 'daughter, colour, 'restaurant).
Restricted – is characterized by placing the word accent on the root of the word if this word has a prefix which has lost its meaning (be'come, be'gin, a'way)
Rhythmical tendency results in alternating stressed and unstressed syllables. It caused the appearance of the secondary stress in multy-syllabic words:ˌorgani'zation,ˌrevo'lution
According to the rhythmical tendency primary stress is on the third syllable from the end in 3 and 4 syllable words:'cinema,'situate,in'tensity
In words with more than 4 syllables we very often find the influence of both – the rhythmic and recessive tendencies - ˌindi'visible
Under the influence of rhythm the accentual structure of the word can be pronounced with one single stress under the influence of rhythm . The rhythmic stress effects the stress patterns of a great number of words in English:'pictu'resque
Under the influence of rhythm compounds of 3 elements may have a single stress on the second syllable.
Retentive tendency is characteristic by the retention of the primary accent in the derivation on the same syllable on which it falls in the parent word:'similar - 'similarly
More commonly the primary stress is retained on the derivative word as the secondary accent:'similar – ˌsimi'larity,'personal -ˌperso'nality,'nation – ˌnatio'nality
I need to distinguish types of stress tendency in some words:
family [ˈfæm(ə)lɪ] - stress is on the first syllable, so I thought that it was recessive tendency. BUT it's a three-syllabic word, stress falls on the third syllable from the end and this is a feature of rhythmical tendency. So is it really rhythmical?
formidable [ˈfɔːmɪdəbl] and [fɔːˈmɪdəbl]) - here you can see a shifting of the stress - rhythmical tendency, or not??? I know there is also a word formidability [ˌfɔːmɪdəˈbɪlətɪ] and stress is changing here as well, so may it be retentive tendency
And what about words hundred [ˈhʌndrɪd]- recessive? and secretary [ʹsekrət(ə)rı]- rhythmical???
Is it correct???