Linguistics 300, F08, Assignment 11

Please familiarize yourself with the spreadsheet in ling300-a11-master.xls and report any errors that you find. See the syllabus for a link to the most up-to-date version of the spreadsheet. The column headings are explained below.

Student The researcher who added the loanword. In rare cases, a loanword is shared by more than one researcher.
Entry The loanword.
Date The date of attestation as it appears in the OED.
Etymon The French source of the loanword.
Syllables The number of syllables in the loanword. Medial glides are treated as they are in the OED. One outright error in the OED has been corrected (tyrant has 2, not 3 syllables).

In order to simplify the historical calculations concerning stress shift (see below), final syllables consisting of stops followed by syllabic consonants (-able, -acre, -ible, and the like) receive special treatment. If the eytmon of a loanword contains such a syllable, the loanword's syllable count is adjusted to exclude the final syllable. This is because the final syllable would not have been able to bear stress even in the original French (pos.'si.[ble], not pos.si.'ble). By contrast, if the loanword itself contains such a syllable (cas.tle, but the etymon didn't (cas.tel), the final syllable is included in the syllable count. This is because the final syllable was stressed in French and could have continued to receive stress in English.

Stress in Chaucer, Shakespeare, OED Stress is marked in the next three columns according to the same conventions. As in previous exercises, stress is counted from right to left. Unstressable syllables that were already unstressable in the French etymon are excluded (see above). This convention simplifies the calculation of the stress shift in English.

Amb (x, y) indicates that an unambiguous determination of the stress is not possible for the historical data. In general, one would expect words with more than 2 syllables to be ambiguous, and for x and y to differ by 2. However, rhyme and elision cut down somewhat on the actual ambiguity (see "Chaucer comments" and "Shakespeare comments" below). Cases involving elision can also lead the difference between x and y to be more or less than 2.

Var (x, y) indicates that we have unambiguous evidence that a loanword could be stressed in more than one way.

There are complex cases combining "amb" and "var". For instance, peradventure is noted in Chaucer as "var (1, amb (2,4))." This means that there is unambiguous evidence (from rhyme) that the word occurs with final stress (per.ad.ven.'ture). But not all instances have final stress. There are some where it is impossible to tell whether the stress is on 2 (per.ad.'ven.ture, as in modern English, or on 4 ('per.ad.ven.ture). The latter stress, though uncommon, is attested in English (cf. 'ad.mi.ral.ty, ad.ver.sa.ry, etc.).

Don't confuse "amb" and "var." They are similar in that we have two alternatives. But with amb, we don't know which alternative is the case. With var, we know for sure that both were the case.

Morpho This column records certain information concerning morphological complexity. In particular, the column records a loanword's last suffix and whether the etymon is a French phrase (rather than a simple word). The column is intended to facilitate tracking the possibly different historical behavior of monomorphemic and polymorphemic words with regard to stress shift.

In some cases, I have a hunch that a loanword contains a suffix, but it is not very productive or otherwise hard to classify. I have indicated such cases with xxx.

Phono The column primarily records whether a loanword's etymon contained a final unstressable syllable. With such words, the syllable count and stress assignment will be one less than you might expect (see "Syllables" and "Stress" for discussion).
Chaucer comments, Shakespeare comments These columns give the reason for treating cases as unambiguous that one would ordinarily expect to be ambiguous. For instance, Chaucer often uses the final syllable of a trisyllabic word to rhyme, from which we conclude that the stress was on 1. Conversely, Shakespeare often elides the medial syllable of a trisyllabic word, from which we conclude that the stress was on 3.
Other comments Miscalleneous comments that you probably safely disregard.