how is the prefix "ex" really spoken

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 28 03:09:51 UTC 2010

Analysis of words starting with "ex"

The spoken words in for USA and UK are compared to the phonetic notation on that site.
The Collins Cobuild database of the 5k most popular words is used to find word frequency containing "ex" as a prefix.

There were 64 words beginning with "ex" for 57,730 instances in text.
The most popular words were example, experience, except and exactly in that order. gives 3 phonetic notations for beginning "ex":  ~eks, ~iks, ~igz (using truespel so copy/paste works)

~eks was the phonetic notation used for 10 words  (16% of the sample).
For these, all speakers were consistent, saying ~eks both for USA and UK.

~iks was the most popular phonetic notation, totaling 61% of the words (39).
However the USA speaker said ~eks for all but one word (38 words out of 39)
The UK speaker also said ~eks the majority of times (27 words out of 39)

~igz was the notation given 15 words starting with "ex" (23% of the sample)
The UK speakers were consistent saying ~igz for 14 of the 15 words.
The USA speaker was clipped for 7 words, but 6 of the 8 were ~egz with 2 ~igz

~aks was the pronunciation for both USA and UK for one word, "excess" ~akses

The USA greatly prefers to say short e (~e) rather than short i (~i) for prefix "ex."
The UK slightly prefers short e" (~e), but short i (~i) when ~g is used (~igz)

I've listened to newsroom speakers on TV and concur that they say short e ~e over short i ~i for "ex" the vast majority of the time.  Dictionaries should be changed to reflect this.
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