What's the stress 'patten' in long-legged? Like the one in long-haired or long-headed?
The question is odd because as far as I am aware the two compound adjectives long-haired and long-headed have identical stress patterns. (And was he making some subtle point about the nonrhotic pronunciation of pattern, homophonous for me with Patton, patten and paten?)
So long-legged is like both of the other long- compounds he mentions, namely ‘double-stressed’. Indeed this is the usual pattern for all adjectives of this structure, in which an adjective is joined to a noun, the noun usually being turned formally into the participle of a denominative verb by the addition of -ed or -ing: big-boned, broad-chested, cold-hearted, fine-sounding, good-natured, half-hearted, old-fashioned. It’s a very productive process, and because of this dictionaries typically list only a small selection of the compound adjectives that are available. Linguists happily write and say long-vowelled (as in a long-vowelled verb stem), though it’s not in any dictionary known to me.
These adjectives are most typically used not predicatively but attributively, before a noun which is likely to be accented. Therefore ‘stress shift’ kicks in, and we get an accent on the first element of the compound adjective, but probably not on the second. That’s why the dictionary entry in LPD and LDOCE includes the stress-shift mark ◀.
• a ˈlong-haired ˈlayabout
• a ˈfine-sounding ˈslogan
• a ˈhalf-hearted atˈtempt
• ˈold-fashioned ˈclothes
If the conditions for stress shift are not met, we get the basic pattern.
• ˈThis ˈPeter, | is he ˈlong-ˈhaired?
• Their ˈslogan | was adˈmittedly ˈfine-ˈsounding.
The problem (if it is a problem) is that some adjectives of this type are virtually never used predicatively. Consider long-haul. We speak of ˈlong-haul ˈflights and ˈlong-haul ˈpassengers. Do we also say ˈthis ˈflight | is ˈlong-ˈhaul? Yes, I suppose, but rarely.
That is the reason for the discrepancy that some have remarked on between different dictionaries. LDOCE shows long-haul as having initial stress, while LPD and CEPD (I think correctly) show it as double-stressed.
In German it’s different. Adjectives with this type of structure are stressed on the first element under all circumstances (I think): ˈkurzfristig, ˈlangweilig, ˈschöngeistig. And the newly triple-elled ˈschnelllebig — don’t you love the reformed spelling?
The other interesting question with long-legged is how many syllables there are in the second element. But that’s another issue entirely. (See LPD s.v. legged.)