EmphaSIZING Long ISLAND
November 9, 2012 11:42 AM Subscribe
How do you pronounce "Long Island"? Think for a second and then join me inside.
I was born and raised in New York City, though I never spent much time at all on Long Island.
To my ear (and to my recollection), it's "Long ISLAND," which strikes me as a little peculiar, since the emphasis is falling on the general descriptor word, not the unique part of the name. I hear the same thing with "Rhode ISLAND." If I hear "LONG Island" I don't recognize at as the NYC area landmass at all; it's entirely unfamiliar, and I'd ask "where's that?"
However, for example, I hear "FIRE Island," "GOVERNOR'S Island," and "RIKER'S Island"--which I think is more normal--the emphasis on the unique part of the name. I think this is also the way I hear Staten Island, but it could go either way.
At this point, I've said all these names so many times that everything sounds weird, and my colleagues are looking at me.
How do you pronounce (or hear pronounced) these names? Certainly there is a subset of people pronouncing Long Island with the emphasis on "Island"--why is that? Does it happen with names of places in your area? Is there a name for this phenomenon?
I don't think it's just due to the fact that "Long" and "Rhode" are just one syllable. For instance, up here in MA, I hear (and say) "PLUM Island," not "Plum ISLAND."