LINGUIST List 3.571

Tue 14 Jul 1992

Qs: ASL, Stress

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. M. Lynne Murphy, smithsonian article
  2. , Stress in words ending in -ery

Message 1: smithsonian article

Date: Wed, 8 Jul 92 13:18:12 CDTsmithsonian article
From: M. Lynne Murphy <>
Subject: smithsonian article

back to the subject of the portrayal of linguistics in the mass media,
the july issue of Smithsonian magazine includes a long and arguably
well-done piece on American Sign Language that includes discussion of
the politics of redefining "language" to include non-oral languages,
the contributions of sign language studies (esp. at the Salk Institute)
to our understanding of language and the brain, and sociolinguistic
and stylistic aspects of ASL. The article refers to a lot of the
people at the forefront of ASL studies (Bellugi, Stokoe, Liddell, Lane, etc.)
and even manages the requisite Chomsky reference.

I'm planning on using this article in my Intro to Linguistics course next
semester (which is largely composed of Speech and Hearing Science students).
If anyone has any caveats to offer about the article, I'd be interested to
hear them.

M. Lynne Murphyu
U of Illinois/Urbana
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Message 2: Stress in words ending in -ery

Date: Sat, 11 Jul 92 12:40:16 EDStress in words ending in -ery
From: <>
Subject: Stress in words ending in -ery

Most of the response to my posting about 'stationery' and
'dysentery' has been skeptical or else involved questions
about different varieties of the language. So let me
clarify. Leaving ALL other varieties aside, in white educated
Northern-states US English of the sort spoken from Manhattan to
Seattle to San Diego, words ending in -ory and -ary have
a clear secondary (or tertiary, if you like, I am not sure
what the difference is) stress on the -o- or the -a-, e.g.
'territory', 'stationary'. However, it is my belief that
at least some speakers WHO SAY THESE WORDS THIS WAY have
a different pronunciation at least optionally available
for words in -ery. Namely, one where the -e- is pronounced
as some kind of syllabic and NOT elided (as it might be
in other varieties) but does not have any stress. In other
words, you get the same stress pattern as in the case of
'hospitable' (when initially stressed), 'admiralty', etc.

Clearly, there are speakers who DO have a secondary stress
there (I do myself in 'stationery', which is homophonous
with 'stationary'), but it seems that there are also
pronunciations like the ones I described above. And
Webster's Third agrees with me.

Now, what I was wondering if there are any LINGUISTs our
there who have heard or themselves use these pronunciations?
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