Fwd: Past tense Spelling

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Oct 26 18:03:05 UTC 2008

>>> 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.
Right. I don't have that distinction or minimal pair myself AFAICT;
maybe many do, and surely many others could put it on for the moment
when useful.

I might could have a minimal pair "cat-nipped" (bitten by a cat) vs.
"catnipped" (treated with catnip).

Me, I'd still double the "p" for all of these in writing.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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