Josette and stress

sceplog_josetteSadly we come to the final day of UCL’s Summer Course in English Phonetics 2015. As in previous years, the grand finale of the course is the Question Time session hosted today by our tutor Josette Lesser.

Josette’s first name also has something of a grand finale, in that its primary stress lies on the final syllable: /dʒəʊˈzet/.

This makes Josette absolutely unique among all the polysyllabic names of our tutors and lecturers. The majority have initial stress: Carley, Chatterjee, Harris, Huckvale, Inger, Lesser, Lindsey, Margaret, Miller, Neasom and Setter. This is in keeping with the tendency for English two-syllable nouns to have initial stress, those with initial stress outnumbering those with final stress by around ten to one.

The reason for the final stress on Josette is its fairly recent French provenance and the ending -ette. Common two-syllable nouns with this stress-attracting ending include brunette, courgette, gazette, rosette and roulette.

Josette herself is the opposite of stress-attracting: a graduate in Linguistics from UCL (like me), she gives workshops here on media and presentation skills to help non-native speakers of English perform well under pressure.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts from SCEP. I wish our participants a safe trip back to your homes around the world, and I sincerely hope the course has planted the seeds of growing insight and confidence as you listen to, produce, and enjoy the sounds of English.

Bye until SCEP 2016!


SCEPlog 1 Postalveolar Jane    SCEPlog 2 Aspirational Paul

SCEPlog 3 Sam /v/ictor /w/ood    SCEPlog 4 Bob Ladd

SCEPlog 5 Non-rhotic Margaret   SCEPlog 6 Devoiced Cris

SCEPlog 7 Unaspirated Scott   SCEPlog 8 ‘ng’ as in Inger & Young Shin

SCEPlog 9 Nick’s commonness   SCEPlog 10 Josette and stress