"axe" for "ask"

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Jan 3 21:50:26 UTC 2003

There is a recording of this pron and some explanation in Noah Webster's
(yes, the man himself) A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language
(1806), in the Preface, page xvi, paragraph near the bottom, in the
facsimile edition.

So it's been in American English for nearly 200 years, from people of all
colors.  Noah W says, "ask, which our common people pronounce aks".  In
fact, Noah goes on to say that the "aks" pron is the "true pronunciation of
the original word".  Well, I don't know about that, but Noah makes an
interesting point.  The "Saxon verb", as he cites it, is "acsian or axian".

Frank Abate

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