Baseball or Base Ball

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 17 14:27:32 UTC 2012

On Aug 17, 2012, at 12:05 AM, Herb Stahlke wrote:

> I wonder if, like TV, base ball started out with nuclear stress and
> the loss of the space corresponded to a shift to compound stress.  I
> still say ['ti'vi] but I hear ['tivi] pretty commonly.
> Herb

As opposed to "TB", which always has nuclear stress on the "B". Or "TD" (a major bank on the east coast).  The latter pronunciation Herb mentions is sometimes orthographically indicated by "teevee".
But I wonder whether there's any evidence for "base ball" ever having been pronounced with stress on "ball".  Certainly it's hard to imagine now, not only for "baseball" but "football", "basketball", "racquet ball", "handball", "matzoh ball", or any other balls.

> On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg
> <nunberg at> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Geoffrey Nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU>
>> Subject:      Baseball or Base Ball
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> From the Trenton Evening Times,  November 13, 1915 quoted in John Thorne's excellent "Our Game" blog at
>>> In the early days of the game “base ball” was universal. After a time, as the game increased in popularity, many publications adopted the hyphenated form, and it became “base-ball.” At a still later period along in the ’80s, as nearly as can be discovered—the newspapers began to drop the hyphen, and “base ball” came into use.
>>> With all regard for those publications which adhere to the old form, the writer can see no valid reason for its continuation, common useage [sic] has set the stamp of approval upon the simple  form of ”baseball” unhyphenated, one and indivisible.
>> But shouldn't there have been an intermediate stage of hyphenation, as well?
>> Also nice on 19th c baseball lg is this post:
>> Geoff
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