Stress patterns on words spelled with final <el>

Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Aug 28 16:08:06 UTC 2000

My grandfather brought my surname from the Austro-Hungarian Empire into
this country as "Mandelbaum", pronounced
in German and
     'm at n.dL.baUm
in English. [a = low back unrounded vowel, L = syllabic ell, U = lax high
back rounded vowel (here as offglide in diphthong), @ = low front unrounded
vowel (ash, aka a-e ligature), period = syllable boundary]

My father dropped the last four letters, evidently on entering the Army in
WW2. I like to think that it was to avoid sounding German rather than to
avoid sounding Jewish. I suppose he changed the stress at the same time,
but I have no way of knowing; I only know that it has been
     m at n.'dEl
all my life and I have never heard it any other way within the family. [E
= epsilon, low-mid front unrounded vowel]

Sometimes strangers mispronounce it
     'm at n.dL
-- on the phone, a sure indication of spam! Often people misspell it as
with double ell, which is after all a more logical English spelling of this

The surname is fairly common in the US*, and in my experience always
pronounced as we pronounce it, never with initial stress.

* See        ,
and especially
and                     .

-- Mark Mandel (rhymes with "can spell")

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