One of the first things you learn about intonation is that
nouns carry the new information, and consequently, they
carry the stress in a sentence.
But what if you have an adjective with the noun, or two nouns
together -- which word do you stress?
In this case, you have to make a simple decision: Either stress
the first word or the second word (rarely
both). How do you know which one to stress? Well, if it
is a description
(with no contrast), skim over the adjective and stress
a big house
a good idea
If you have a two nouns that form a
stress the first word:
a picture frame
This will explain why we say:
in a white house.
He lives in the White House.
After you have mastered first-word or second-word stress,
you can go on the more complex intonation:
It's a pot.
It's a new pot.
It's brand new.
It's a brand new pot.
It's a tea pot.
It's a new tea pot.
It's a brand new tea pot.
It's a tea pot lid.
It's a new tea pot lid.
It's a brand new tea pot lid.