Fwd: Past tense Spelling

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Oct 26 17:45:36 UTC 2008

At 9:51 AM -0700 10/26/08, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>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
>>>Seems obvious from the 'rules' that if "kidnaped" is OK so is
>>>(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
>>>if secondary stress is accepted as 'stress' (demanding a doubling),
>>>I doubt secondary stress will be reliably and reproducibly
>>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.
...and there may be a minimal pair, distinguished suprasegmentally,
between "catnap(p)ed" 'slept for a short period' vs. "catnap(p)ed"
'abducted a feline for monetary gain'; the test is whether one can
say "Catnapping is a crime, but catnapping is OK" with appropriately
disambiguating stress/rhythm.


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