1-2-1 versus 2-1-2
Donald M. Lance
LanceDM at MISSOURI.EDU
Sat Jan 29 21:31:19 UTC 2000
I was gonna stay out of this phonological quagmire of suprasegmentals, but....
Language was invented to allow people to say what they want to -- logically or logic
bad hair day
1 1 1
( 2 1) 1 (adj + n stress: hair that is bad)
( 3 - 1 + 3) (primary-tertiary compound noun stress:
day characterized by bad hair,
like bird characterized by blackness:
blackbird 1 - 3)
The + is "plus juncture," which is realized with lengthening
of the preceding syllable.
I have put - between 3 and 1 in the third cycle to
indicate "loss of juncture" as 'bad' and 'hair' slosh together.
bad hair day
1 1 1
1 ( 1 3 ) (compound noun: day characterized by hair)
( 2 + 1 4 ) (adj + noun)
( 2 + 1 3 ) (ad hoc rule invented to fix unrealistic stress)
Here, 'bad' rather than 'hair' gets the lengthening, whether ambiguously slight or
exaggerated as indicated below by Ron Butters.
> In a message dated 1/26/2000 3:13:58 PM, preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU writes:
> > Here's the problem. I believe that "bad hair day" is like the first
> > ("bad-hair day"), but I pronounce it (and have nearly always heard it
> > pronounced) like the latter.
> > Wuzzup?
> > dInIs
> > >>
As Rudy Troike pointed out, the "difference" between level 2 and level 3 stress is pretty
messy from one part of the country to another and from one speaker to another. Since the
sloshing I referred to earlier is a relatively strong phonotactic phenomenon, it is easily
transferred, not for the sake of euphony but for that ole bug-bear "ease of
articulation." So you mean it one way, but the devil makes you say it the other way.
Just my WAG, dInIs.
Anne Lambert wrote:
> I don't know the system that is being used here; is 1 the main stress, 2
> secondary and so on?
> RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
> > This has been driving me crazy, but I think I've finally figured it out,
> > thanks to Preston and Troike.
> > How would one indicate unambiguously "big hair-day" if one needed to do so?
> > or "dead end-kid"? Troike's reminder about juncture is helpful here, I think:
> > at least in my speech, I can signal this by lengthening the vowel of the
> > first word ("biiiig hair-day," "deeeaaad end-kid") or perhaps by an
> > exceptionally lengthy pause ("bigguh hair day," "deaduh end-kid").
> > In a message dated 1/26/2000 3:13:58 PM, preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU writes:
> > << Ron is right and wrong.
> > Let's stick with his 1=primary stress, 2=secondary, etc...
> > Most ((Adj+Noun) Noun) combos are 1-2-1 "big-dog show" = show of big dogs.
> > Most (Adj(Noun+Noun)) combos are 2-1-2 "big dog-show" = big show of dogs.
> > My stress marks are only relative; if you find some "3" rather than "2,"
> > that's not important. (I also know that neither is typically hypenated; I'm
> > just doing that to make sure my parsing is well-understood.)
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