Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 13:43:03 -0400

From: "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ATLAS.UGA.EDU

Subject: Re: Pronounciation of Oxymoron

OK- and AWK- first syllables are possible for speakers who neutralize the

distinction between *cot* and *caught*, as common in the West. Strong

initial stress with no primary or secondary stress on the -mor- syllable

is possible with American speakers as an alternate pronunciation in

polysyllabic Latinate words; it is the rule for British speakers in

words like laboratory and secretary, with syncopation of the penultimate

syllable on which Americans would put secondary stress: Br SE-kre-try

vs. Am SE-kre-TAR-y. I suppose somebody might even stress the the second

syllable, ok-SIM-a-run, by analogy with such similarly unfamiliar words

as pen-TAM-e-ter or de-KAM-er-on. I would judge the most frequent AM

pronunciation to be OK(or AWK)-se-MOR-on, and will so report it for Oxford.

Regards, Bill


Bill Kretzschmar Phone: 706-542-2246

Dept. of English (Park 317) FAX: 706-542-2181

University of Georgia Internet: billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Athens, GA 30602-6205 Atlas Web Page: