1. GENERAL HEADING: Language: Sounds, Structure, Meter
2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Assigning Stress"
3. GOALS: To develop students' awareness of the subtlety and complexity of stressing in actual spoken language, and to aid the actors in discovering that only one or two words in each line receive primary stress
4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any number
5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None
6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: Ten minutes or more, depending upon the number of lines examined.
7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: The instructor writes two or three single lines on the board (the lines we worked with were particularly problematic, but more regular lines would also work for the exercise).
Fool, of / thyself / speak well. / Fool, do / not flatter
That sucked / the hon- / ey of / his mu- / sic vows
Let's be sac- / rifi- / cers, but / not butch- / ers, Caius
The students assign a relative quantity to the stress on each syllable, where 1 is the strongest and 4 the weakest.
8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION/DISCUSSION: There will be variation and disagreement, but the students should discover how to find the stressed words, and that only one or two words in a given line receive primary stress.
9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley, Co-Director of the Institute, UC-Santa Cruz (who credits George Amis).
10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.
11. VARIATIONS: By experimentation, choose lines that you find effective
for the exercise.