Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas compounds

credit: Osgood Co.
Before 'Christmas 'holidays start I do my 'Christmas 'shopping: I get some 'Christmas cards and buy some 'Christmas presents: On 'Christmas 'Eve I put them into 'Christmas 'stockings, so my beloved ones will find them on 'Christmas 'Day before we all have 'Christmas 'dinner, which includes some 'Christmas 'pudding. We might watch or listen to the Queen’s 'Christmas 'speech and sing some 'Christmas 'carols round the 'Christmas tree. Later we eat 'Christmas cake or might pull 'Christmas 'crackers. I no longer give out 'Christmas boxes. On the whole 'Christmas time means a lot of stress.

Is there a rule behind these stress assignments? None if you ask me! And you needn't worry actually; conversation will not collapse if you use the 'wrong' pattern. The whole story contains, I must admit, a highly unusual accumulation of Christmas compounds.
Most of the compounds and all of the stress marks were supplied by John C. Wells. See John's 'old' blog where you can find the original story.


  1. I hope that all your student readers realise that, when you say this sequence as continuous speech, the "rule" of not re-accenting re-occurring items cuts in and precludes the isolate stressings you give!
    With intonations we'd say
    Beˈfore 'Christmas 'holidays ˏstart┊ I ˈdo my Christmas ˏshopping,┊ I ˈget some 'Christmas ˏcards ┊and ˈbuy some Christmas ˎpresents...

  2. @Limey: Indeed, these are mostly isolate stressings; the whole story is rather artificial.