words starting with "ex"

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 24 11:32:37 UTC 2007

Thanks Amy,

I really should say that the m-w.com site is truly a marvelous free resource
and commend Marriam-Webster and all that worked on it for a fine job.
Hearing the spoken word actually revolutionizes the dictionary.  Sound files
must be used in this forum as well.  This is a wonderful thing they did.

Many of the issues I address I believe are due to changing pronunciation
over time that legacy phonetic spelling hasn't kept up with, or due to mixed
accents.  I certainly never intimated that the pronunciation were "from the

I agree that phonetic spelling is needlessly cryptic and should be redone in
an English friendly way so it's more accessible, especially for instructing
in reading and English pronunciation.  That's the thrust of truespel.

What you seem to have said below is that my reliance on m-w.com as a
pronunciation guide for typical USA accent is a good one because m-w.com is
ably quality controlled, with the proviso that regional accents will vary.
I agree with you.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
See truespel.com - and the 4  truespel books plus "Occasional Poems" at

>From: Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject: Re: words starting with "ex"
>Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 22:53:40 -0400
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
>Subject:      Re: words starting with "ex"
>Something has been bugging me for a while now, and I feel I must
>finally address it.
>Your reliance on the audio-prons from the electronic MW Collegiate
>(I'm assuming the 10th edition) as "evidence" is really bothering me.
>I wasn't involved in their production, but I did work in the office
>when that project was being done. The audio-prons done for the 10th
>Collegiate were done under the direction of Brian Sietsema, the
>MIT-trained linguist who was the pronunciation editor at the time.
>The work was outsourced to professional voice talent, and when the
>prons didn't meet his criteria, he re-did them himself. As you point
>out, "they are faithful to the phonetic spelling," which I take to
>mean the pronunciation as represented by the symbols. Yes, exactly.
>The audio-prons are meant as a substitute for the pronunciation
>guide, which is hard to decipher for some. These are not the only
>prons possible, they do not represent all accents/dialects, they are
>not examples from the wild to be used as "evidence." They are
>intended to help the dictionary users for whom deciphering the
>pronunciation guide is difficult and that's it.
>---Amy West
> >  >Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >>Poster:       Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> >  >Subject:      words starting with "ex"
> >
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >>Words starting with "ex"
> >>
> >>There are 64 words in the top 5,000 words of English that start with
> >>according to the word-count analysis of English media text by Collins
> >>Cobuild.
> >>They are listed below.  Of interest is how the first sound of "ex" is
> >>pronounced
> >>by the speakers in m-w.com.  They may say it with "short e" or "short
> >>They are faithful to the phonetic spelling that m-w.com provides.
> >>Without peeking at m-w.com, take the test.  Which words take which
> >>pronunciations for "ex."  Do you think this is correct for American
> >  >dialect?
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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