Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Nov 1 13:52:59 UTC 2001

Good point larry. And may account for some "apparent southernisms" in
northern speech. Maybe New York ain't southern after all (they got
their own linguistic insecurity to deal with).


>>From: "Duane Campbell" <dcamp911 at JUNO.COM>
>>Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:21 AM
>>Subject: CONtract/conTRACT
>>>  I have heard several spokespersons talk about the victims who have
>>>  CON-tracted anthrax. My understanding has always been that you CON-tract
>>>  with someone for a sale or service, but you con-TRACT a disease. Is this
>>>  ideosyncratic or is this proper susage that is just slipping. (It seems
>>  > to be the same people who constantly say "as best we can.")
>P.S.  It just occurred to me that the above cited speakers might
>indeed say "conTRACT a disEASE"  but say "CON-tract AN-thrax" because
>of the famous "rhythm rule" in English stress (four-TEEN vs.
>FOUR-teenth FLOOR).  Just a guess.  It also might be "contamination"
>from CON-tact (where verb and noun both have initial stress).

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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