how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 1 08:59:33 UTC 2010


The term "law" was used of sound changes discovered in the 19th c.
The usage was part of the scientific culture of the time, with the
discoveries of Hooke's Law, Boyle's Law, Newton's Laws, etc. over the
previous century and a half.  By the early 20th c. the term went out
of style, and newly discovered sound changes were just sound changes.
There are later 20th c. instances, like Cowgill's Law, but these are
unusual and are found almost solely in Indo-European linguistics.  The
term was found also in comparative Bantu studies in the late 19th and
early 20th cc. with Dahl's Law and Meinhof's Law, terms that are still
in use, but new sound changes discovered in Bantu linguistics are not
generally called laws.

As to Verner's Law (1875), if the Latinate borrowings "exact,"
"exempt," etc. had existed in Germanic 2000 years ago, the [gz]
pronunciation would have arisen by Verner's Law.  Its appearance in
Modern English is analogous to Verner's Law but can't be the result of
Verner's Law, although the process is similar.

Herb

On Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 9:41 AM, Tom Zurinskas <truespel at hotmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Ok. Â So the the "law" should say that the "x" need be between two vowels and the following syllable stressed for "ex" prefix to be spoken ~gz instead of typical ~ks. Â It doesn't appear to say that in the "law". Â In fact that would make the "exc" words not be exceptions, because the "c" is there, making the "x" not between two vowels.
>
> But I assume the vowel "e" in prefix "ex" is not not a part of the law although in UK it's pronounced ~igz consistently when "x" is between vowels before a stressed syllable. Â In USA it's ~egz. Â Perhaps the spelling with an "e" leads to the pronunciation using short e, just as is happening with plural s's being pronounced in US as ~s when they should be ~z. Â spelnountseeng (pronouncing as spelled).
>
> Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
> see truespel.com phonetic spelling
>
>
>>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>> Poster: Geoff Nathan
>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> The exceptions are actually totally regular--the voicing of Verner's Law is between vowels, and in the 'exceptions' cited there is another (pronounced) consonant following--exTreme, exClaim etc.
>>
>> Intervocalic voicing is a very frequent process in languages. Phonological processes normally follow quite general principles and the pronunciation of 'x' in English is no 'exception'. For those of us who believe phonological behavior is motivated by physiological and perceptual pressures this is not surprising (see, for example, Nathan, Geoffrey. 2008. Phonology: A cognitive grammar introduction. Amsterdam: Benjamins--shameless plug...)
>>
>> Geoff
>>
>> Geoffrey S. Nathan
>> Faculty Liaison, C&IT
>> and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
>> +1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
>> +1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)
>>
>> ----- "Tom Zurinskas" wrote:
>>
>>> From: "Tom Zurinskas"
>>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>> Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 9:30:28 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>>> Poster: Tom Zurinskas
>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>
>>> What about "extreme" "expect" extraordinary. These would be "ks" not
>>> "gs", no? But according to "law" should they not be "ks" but "gs"
>>> because they are followed by a stressed syllable (like ~egzzakt)?
>>> Lots of exceptions to the "law", no?
>>>
>>> Anyway, back to the topic. I'll be changing the short i for "ex" to
>>> short e in the truespel conversion database. That's the way it's done
>>> in USA as I hear it. Hope that's agreeable to all.
>>>
>>> As Jay Leno says ~egzzaktlee or ~egzzaklee
>>>
>>> Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
>>> see truespel.com phonetic spelling
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>> Poster: Geoffrey Nathan
>>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>>
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>
>>>> Verner's Law (something anyone who has taken even one introductory
>>> course in Linguistics usually learns about) deals not with vowels but
>>> with _consonants_. Although it applied to the change from
>>> Proto-Indo-European to Germanic, its effects are visible (or it's
>>> reapplying--your choice) in the examples cited.
>>>>
>>>> From Wikipedia:
>>>>
>>>> "Verner's law, stated by Karl Verner in 1875, describes a historical
>>> sound change in the Proto-Germanic language whereby voiceless
>>> fricatives *f, *þ, *s, *h (including *hʷ ), when immediately following
>>> an unstressed syllable in the same word, underwent voicing and became
>>> respectively the fricatives *b, *d, *z, *g (and *gʷ)." (Verner's Law
>>> entry, 1st Para.)
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Geoffrey S. Nathan
>>>> Faculty Liaison, C&IT
>>>> and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
>>>> +1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
>>>> +1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)
>>>>
>>>> ----- "Tom Zurinskas" wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> From: "Tom Zurinskas"
>>>>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>>>> Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 4:27:56 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada
>>> Eastern
>>>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>>>
>>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>>> -----------------------
>>>>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>>> Poster: Tom Zurinskas
>>>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>>>
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>
>>>>> Looks like we're breaking Verner's Law here in the US. We're not
>>>>> saying ~igzzam for "exam" and ~igzzakt for "exact". I'm hearing
>>>>> ~egzzam and ~egzzakt.
>>>>>
>>>>> As Jay Leno would say ~egzzaktlee.
>>>>>
>>>>> Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
>>>>> see truespel.com phonetic spelling
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>>> -----------------------
>>>>>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>>>> Poster: Geoff Nathan
>>>>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I guess being one of the resident phonologists I'd better jump in
>>>>> now with some elementary phonology.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The pronunciation of the prefix spelled 'ex-' is determined in
>>> part
>>>>> by whether it is stressed. If it is stressed it is pronounced with
>>> the
>>>>> lax mid front vowel (as in 'bet'). So 'excellent, exercise,
>>> execute'.
>>>>> If unstressed it varies between lax mid (bet) and lax high front
>>> (as
>>>>> in 'bit') depending on formal/casual, dialect, and many other
>>> things.
>>>>> Since there is no rule for this there can be no standardized
>>>>> transcription. Hence the varying transcriptions for 'excite,
>>> excel,
>>>>> exactly...'
>>>>>> Note, however, that there is a rule about whether the 'x' is
>>>>> pronounced /ks/ or /gz/. If the syllable preceding it is stressed
>>> it's
>>>>> voiceless (ks) but if the following syllable is stressed it is
>>> voiced
>>>>> (gz). The exceptions are those words spelled with -xc- . Hence
>>>>> 'excite, excel' but 'exact, exam'.
>>>>>> (Esoteric note for historical linguists--the latter principle is
>>>>> actually Verner's Law.)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Geoff
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Geoffrey S. Nathan
>>>>>> Faculty Liaison, C&IT
>>>>>> and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
>>>>>> +1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
>>>>>> +1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ----- "Tom Zurinskas" wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> From: "Tom Zurinskas"
>>>>>>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 7:00:16 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada
>>>>> Eastern
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>>>>> -----------------------
>>>>>>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>>>>> Poster: Tom Zurinskas
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> You can hear 'em at thefreedictionary.com. Click on the flags
>>> for
>>>>>>> audio. On second listening I hear the first "e" in excess more
>>>>> like
>>>>>>> an ~e (as in "bet") than an ~a. Certainly it's an ~a (as in
>>> "hat")
>>>>>>> for "access". Having listened to a bunch of words with "ex"
>>>>> prefixes
>>>>>>> I thought the "e" in "excess" seemed different trending toward
>>> ~a
>>>>>>> rather than ~e.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
>>>>>>> see truespel.com phonetic spelling
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>>>>> -----------------------
>>>>>>>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>>>>>> Poster: "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC"
>>>>>>>> Subject: Re: how is the prefix "ex" really spoken
>>> (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> ~aks was the pronunciation for both USA and UK for one word,
>>>>>>> "excess"
>>>>>>>>> ~akses
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> How was "access" pronounced? The same as "excess"?
>>>>>>>> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
>>>>>>>> Caveats: NONE
>>>>>>>>
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