Fwd: Past tense Spelling

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 27 04:06:53 UTC 2008

I think that's one of those things about which one can never tell. I
grew up using "kidnaped" and "canceled." When I began to work in the
Harvard library system, I noticed that I found myself dealing with a
lot of material that had been _CANCELLED_ or _cancelled_. After a few
years on the job, the -lled version became not only the spelling to
which I was accustomed, but also the one that I now prefer.

But I still go with _kidnaped_, never having had occasion to stamp any
material "KIDNAPPED" / "kidnapped."


On Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 2:03 PM, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Fwd: Past tense Spelling
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> 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
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