Chefography: LA and tablescapes

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Mar 21 16:42:17 UTC 2007

Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Chefography: LA and tablescapes
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Mar 21, 2007, at 1:01 AM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> On Chefography on the Food Channel, the episode on Sandra Lee
>> included:
>> LA pronounced as "EL lay" (as opposed to "EL LAY") in the expression
>> "L.A. County Fair".
> this is an instance of the famous* Rhythm Rule of english, according
> to which certain words that have (primary) final stress in isolation
> can retract the stress (in certain constructions) when followed by an
> initially stressed word, thus preserving alternating stress:
>    sixTEEN [in isolation]
>    sixTEEN acCESSories [before unaccented syllable]
>    SIXteen CANdles [before accented syllable]
>    outSIDE [in isolation]
>    outSIDE the BOX [before unaccented syllable]
>    outSIDE of CHIna [before unaccented syllable]
>    OUTside CHIna [before accented syllable]
>    el (L)AY [in isolation]
>    el (L)AY aPARTment [before unaccented syllable]
>    EL (lay) COUNty [before accented syllable]
> the alternative accentings are in general not ill-formed, but are
> disfavored and tend to occur only in special contexts (like
> contrastive or emphatic stress).
Thank you for that linguistic rule. I was hoping to hear it again for
confirmation or to see if it's widespread particularly in that context,
but unfortunately I heard it only once. As much as I enjoyed the
information from that episode, I have no desire to watch it again. BB

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