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OT: Justifying a stress pattern (plus OT: joke last name templates)

From:Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
Date:Sunday, December 30, 2007, 5:28
Not related to Andreas's post itself, but on the topic of generally
justifying stress patterns, does anyone know any of the theoretical
reasons for different stress systems, and how stress interacts with
phonetics, phonology (and maybe morphology and syntax)?

Somewhat off-topic: I was thinking the other day about my last name
and why it's accented on the second syllable rather than the first
(vs. the given name Christopher). I have a theory that maybe it's
because the majority of -erson names in English are accented on the
syllable just before -erson.

Also OT, it seems that when people need to make up a last name, e.g.
for joke purposes, it's common to take common nouns or verbs or
adjectives and add -erson (optionally prefixing Mc- too) -- e.g.
Blanky [Mc]Blankerson. I find that interesting because I don't
perceive -erson last names to be that common; -son ones are more
common but still don't seem like they'd be common enough to make a
joke template out of. It also seems like maybe people perceive -erson
to be one morpheme. I think joke names might take -erson rather than
just -son because otherwise the meter doesn't sound quite right (IMO).

It's also funny that people use Mc-, which, being an Irish and
Scottish Gaelic-derived prefix, doesn't tend to occur along with the
mostly Scandinavian -[s]son/-[s]sen or German -[s]sohn. There is
McPherson, but that doesn't count because the -son is not derived
from its own morpheme.


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>