Somewhere online today, I saw an ad or article about Hello Kitty Converse shoes. It probably wasn’t a targetted ad, or else whatever cookies are tracking me don’t know me at all. Curiously, for some reason, when I saw the word Converse, I pronounced it with an emphasis on the second syllable, like it was the verb to converse. Seeing the full title and accompanying picture of course made me realise that the word was Converse, the proper noun referring to the brand name, and not the verb. This was another interesting example of the difference in word stress between nouns and verbs. And of course at this stage, I’d got to thinking: why is the shoemaker named Converse, and how is that related to the verb to converse? Continue reading