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UMbrella

A forum for discussing US dialects (accents).

UMbrella

Postby janosh » Wed May 10, 2006 7:12 pm

My husband has a (very southern) habit of putting the accent on the first syllable of words like GUItar, THANKSgiving, and THEater. It seems to me like this happens when words seem "special" or foreign in some way, but I can't think of specific examples. Someone else mentioned "INsurance." Has anyone else got examples?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed May 10, 2006 7:50 pm

It isn't THEater? :?

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Examples

Postby Mama » Wed May 10, 2006 8:02 pm

I have a "Southern" habit of saying PERmit, to mean a license, and perMIT to mean I will allow you to do something. Actually, I thought that was just using English correctly, but here in Pennsylvania, everybody (especially my husband) says perMIT to mean go get your perMIT to drive. Also they say adDRESS to mean where you live, but I would say ADdress, unless I meant to adDRESS a crowd with a speech of some kind.
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Initial accent

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed May 10, 2006 11:56 pm

The tendency for accent to retract to the initial syllable in Southern dialects (INsurance, POlice, etc.) should not be confused with an interesting aspect of English grammar in general. Usually when we derive a noun from a verb we add a suffix, as in state : state-ment, educate : educat-ion, insure : insur-ance.

However, in a large class of English verbs, the noun is formed by simply shifing the accent from the last syllable to the first:

to surVEY : a SURvey
to reJECT : a REject
to conFINE : CONfines

It applies to all verbs with the prefix re-:

to reWRITE : a REwrite
to reRUN : a RErun
to reFUND : a REfund

There are thousands of pairs like this. This means of derivation is so unusual that many speakers confuse the two forms.
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THEater

Postby janosh » Thu May 11, 2006 10:16 am

I thought of my THEater mistake as soon as I posted it. There's no problem with emphasis, but rather that the a is pronounced like the a in lake instead of the a in about.
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Postby Bailey » Thu May 11, 2006 4:20 pm

VE' hikkle, said by every single law enforcement officer, it's actually closer to VE' HICK' le with two emphases, as though they can't quite decide if it has the first or second syllable. And Tee'vee instead of tee VEE'. The classic is of course, the PO' lease

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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu May 11, 2006 11:18 pm

However, in a large class of English verbs, the noun is formed by simply shifing the accent from the last syllable to the first:

I was watching an American sitcom the other day and somebody pronounced TOR-ment as a verb and I immediately remembered Tim. See, Tim? We think about ya all the time.

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Postby skinem » Mon May 29, 2006 5:08 pm

Soemthing special or foreign?
Foreign like DEtroit, Michigan?
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Postby Perry » Mon May 29, 2006 8:29 pm

I used to be from DEtroit, Michigan; but I got over it.
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Re: Examples

Postby sluggo » Wed May 31, 2006 12:45 am

Mama wrote:I have a "Southern" habit of saying PERmit, to mean a license, and perMIT to mean I will allow you to do something. Actually, I thought that was just using English correctly, but here in Pennsylvania, everybody (especially my husband) says perMIT to mean go get your perMIT to drive. Also they say adDRESS to mean where you live, but I would say ADdress, unless I meant to adDRESS a crowd with a speech of some kind.


That's odd, I grew up in PA too and everybody said PERmit as the thing you drove with and perMIT as the verb. As for address, I think both ways were heard with maybe a slight favour to adDRESS.

Of course as we know, PA is at least two different states.

My brother, who was in a certain youth organisation, would always be irked when our grandmother referred to said organisation as "the boy SCOUTS".
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Re: THEater

Postby sluggo » Wed May 31, 2006 12:48 am

janosh wrote:I thought of my THEater mistake as soon as I posted it. There's no problem with emphasis, but rather that the a is pronounced like the a in lake instead of the a in about.


Methinks you mean the emphasis as in the-AY-ter...?
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Postby tcward » Wed May 31, 2006 12:30 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:
However, in a large class of English verbs, the noun is formed by simply shifing the accent from the last syllable to the first:

I was watching an American sitcom the other day and somebody pronounced TOR-ment as a verb and I immediately remembered Tim. See, Tim? We think about ya all the time.

Brazilian dude


Wow... I missed this thread the first time through. And I'm not so sure I like the idea (I-dee) that my name is associated with torment. ;-)

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Postby gailr » Wed May 31, 2006 3:09 pm

Wow... I missed this thread the first time through. And I'm not so sure I like the idea (I-dee) that my name is associated with torment. ;-)

-Tim


I think he's just terrunting you, Tim.
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