"Democrat party"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 2 02:37:57 UTC 2008

On Sun, Jun 1, 2008 at 10:21 PM, LanDi Liu <strangeguitars at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 12:52 AM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > There's a considerable difference between "Democrat Party" and
> > "Republic Party."  "Democrat" has a final stressed syllable and
> > "Republic" doesn't.  The syllable "crat" conforms to the phonotactics
> > of English taboo vocabulary: short vowel and final voiceless consonant
> > usually a stop, which turns "Democrat" into an epithet in a way that
> > can't be done with "Republic."  Among Republican political consultants
> > it's been a routine form of name-calling for decades.
> The syllable "lic" conforms to that according to your description,
> too.  You could give "lic" secondary stress if you wanted to.  Maybe
> what's really going on is that you can substitute "crat" with "crap",
> but "lic" doesn't get you anything beyond "lick", which is no match

Mm, I think of that vowel as lax, often partly centered. And alternating
stress makes "lic" (3-1-_) much less likely than "crat" (1-0-_).

Mark Mandel

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

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