Re: OT: Justifying a stress pattern (plus OT: joke last name templates)
|From:||Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>|
|Date:||Monday, December 31, 2007, 2:42|
On Dec 30, 2007, at 8:22 AM, Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Dec 30, 2007 12:28 AM, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
>> 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.
> It's far more general than that. Adding morphemes to English words
> often shifts the emphasis. For instance, pick almost any adjective
> with stress that's not on the final syllable. If you add "-ity" to
> nominalize it, ithe stress shifts: '[fn]ormal => [fn]or'mality,
> 'viscous => vis'cosity. 'tranquil => tran'quility; sub'jective =>
> subjec'tivity. This can happen even when a morpheme is removed first:
> a'nonymous => ano'nymity.
Right, but my impression was that those words had gone through
natural evolution in English, whereas borrowed (from Scandinavian)
names would not have gone through it -- but I don't know how long the
name has existed in English; maybe it has been there long enough to
evolve with the rest.
> There are some general rules of thumb (with exceptions, of course):
> English words only have three stress levels: primary, secondary, and
> unstressed. And you can't have more than two unstressed syllables in
> a row. (Well, "can't" is too strong for a rule of thumb. You can,
> but it feels unnatural to native speakers.) Because "Christopher"
> has one stressed and two unstressed syllables,
For me it has a secondary accent (or tertiary maybe, according to
some treatments of stress) on the last syllable, although now that I
think about it I can also imagine it with completely unstressed
second and third syllables.
> the form
> *'Christopherson has no good candidate for secondary stress and is
You have a point, provided the first name part of it has only primary
stress. In that case I'm tempted to secondarily stress the -son, but
that sounds a little weird, and it also sounds weird to secondarily
stress the third syllable.
Be that as it may, people sometimes *do* accent it (incorrectly) on
the first syllable. I'm not sure which secondary accentuation they use.
> Also, you have the famous antecedent of Kris
> Kristofferson. :)
>> 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.
> Well, I think that's intentional. McSillyson is funny precisely
> because it's unlikely - and unlikely because it's redundant. :)
Oh, yes -- in that they are both patronymics.
> Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
On Dec 30, 2007, at 1:11 PM, Lars Finsen wrote:
> Den 30. des. 2007 kl. 15.22 skreiv Mark J. Reed:
>> Because "Christopher"
>> has one stressed and two unstressed syllables, the form
>> *'Christopherson has no good candidate for secondary stress and is
>> rejected. Also, you have the famous antecedent of Kris
>> Kristofferson. :)
> Could be worth mentioning that the Scandinavian name Kristoffer
> unlike the English Christopher is stressed on the middle syllable.
> I assume KK's stock is from around these parts.
Oh, I didn't realize that. I don't know about KK, but my family is
from Denmark/northern Germany.
> The surname Christopherson is not uncommon in the north of Britain.
> I suppose they all have the usual 2nd syllable stress. (Or what?)