[Ads-l] Another Brexit for the collection

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 28 21:04:06 UTC 2016

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 4:51 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> On a related and more linguistic topic:
> A colleague, Polly Jacobson, was wondering why we usually pronounce
> "Brexit" with a voiceless cluster (Brek-sit) on our side of the pond while
> those more directly affected usually go voiced (Breg-zit).  Another
> colleague had a theory almost as ingenious as it is absurd:
> "Most of the time I would say [ˈEk-sət] for the place the British so
> quaintly call the Way Out. For the verb meaning to leave (out of) a place,
> I would nearly always say [ˈEg-zət], and in the past tense, I would ALWAYS
> say [ˈEg-zətəd]. Brexit is a way out, and therefore [ˈbrEk-sət]."
> [credit/blame to Jerry Sadock]
> Seriously, though, assuming you share the initial judgments (actually I
> think I've heard both versions here), is there anything in general written
> about when words like "exit" (noun or verb), "exhaust", "exist" (only
> voiced?), and so on have voiced or voiceless clusters, and/or whether
> "Brexit" patterns like "exit"?  (Does it depend on whether "Brexit" is
> analyzed into two morphemes or taken as a single unit?)
> (FWIW, there is at least one discussion online, but it's not completely
> systematic:
> http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=006755;p=1
> )

See this Language Log discussion:



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