Saturday, 2 July 2011

Ever Decreasing Circles

No, I'm not going to write about the oozlum bird again in this blog posting. It's rather the sitcom broadcast by BBC One in the late 80s.

credit: BBC and 2/entertain
The main characters are Martin Bryce (played by Richard Briers), his wife Ann (Penelope Wilton) and Paul Ryman (Peter Egan).
In the first episode Paul Ryman pays the Bryces a courtesy visit. During the conversation Martin leaves the room and goes upstairs to get some papers. One hears his footsteps and Ann says: "Thirteen steps stairs* we've got." After a while footsteps are heard again and Paul says: "Yes, it is thirteen."
Imagine you are the actor playing Paul and you have to say this sentence. How would you stress thirteen? By saying THIRteen or thirTEEN?
And what about Ann's "Thirteen steps stairs* [...]"?

*Sorry for the typo!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting questions. Here's my guess (please bear in mind that I'm just a learner):

    First utterance - Onset on "Thir-" and nucleus on "steps", with no stress on "-teen",
    ie ╦łThirteen \steps we've got.

    Second utterance - Unstressed prehead; nucleus on "is"; boundary?; nucleus on "thir-";
    ie Yes it \is /thirteen.