Why Native Speakers May Not Understand You

Tip: When pronouncing a key word, try to get the word stress right...

Do you ever feel that native speakers of English have more trouble understanding you than nonnatives? Well, you're right! Explanation: English speakers store vocabulary according to stress patterns (Levelt, '89). So if you say: "I'm going to L.A. with my family" [instead of "I'm going to L.A. with my family"], your listener may think: "ELLie? ENGland? I didn't quite catch it..."
Food for Thought
The English speaker's brain often won't retrieve the word you're using unless you stress the correct syllable! Think of the impact that has on your ability to make yourself understood!
Consider these word pairs:
MORal, morALE
PERson, perCENT
INvalid, inVALid
CANNery, caNARy
COMedy, comMITtee.
What a difference word stress makes--it changes the meaning entirely!