Fwd: Past tense Spelling

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sun Oct 26 16:51:24 UTC 2008

another re-sending:

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu>
> Date: October 26, 2008 9:49:49 AM PDT
> To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Past tense Spelling
> On Oct 26, 2008, at 9:18 AM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>> These 'rules' are not going to reliably provide reasonable spellings
>> IMHO (at least not without a bunch of footnotes and special
>> exceptions).
>> Seems obvious from the 'rules' that if "kidnaped" is OK so is
>> "catnaped"
>> (referring to sleep): is everyone happy with this? Or with
>> "chitchating", "bootstraped", "bullyraging", etc., etc.?
>> Of course most of these weird ones (including "kidnaped") will
>> disappear
>> if secondary stress is accepted as 'stress' (demanding a doubling),
>> but
>> I doubt secondary stress will be reliably and reproducibly
>> identified.
> ah, here's a subtlety: "kidnap" and "catnap" are not prosodically
> identical for many (most?) speakers; the second element of
> "catnap" (and of noun-noun compounds in general) has a heavier
> accent than the second element of "kidnap".  some would assign a
> secondary accent in "catnap" and a tertiary accent in "kidnap".
> others would distinguish only two levels of contrastive accent for
> accented syllables and assign primary accent to both elements of a
> noun-noun compound, with the first subordinated to the second as a
> matter of phonetic detail.
> arnold

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