Date: Sat, 11 Nov 1995 20:46:31 CST


Subject: Re: RhetORic

I've been out of town and am responding to old postings from the middle

of last week. Once my father, who had advanced to the 3rd reader in

Indian Territory before electing to place farm work above readin/ritin,

sounded out 'rhetoric' as rheTORic and asked me what it meant. I of

course, dutiful son that I am, demonstrated the received pronunciation in

my explanation. Why would he not have made it rhyme with 'caloric'?

And have the same stress placement as 'algebraic'? I don't know whether

he used the term much after learning its meaning.

I'd been thinking of posting a word-stress question, and here's my opportunity.

Recently I heard an interview with an Republican legislator from Oklahoma in

which he consistently stressed (not equally, but that's not the point) the

first and third syllables in 'distribute' so that it "matched" 'distribution'.

(I can't think of the man's name, but gave his party affiliation in case

that helps others think of who it might be; he's on TV a lot these days because

he is Chair of some committee [really drawing blanks here]). His pronunciation

almost made Robert McNeil do the same "mispronunciation."

Have others of you noticed many suggestions of a current trend away from

some of the SPE stress-placement rules that we found so interesting in 1968?

I've noticed other examples but can't think of them right now.