Pronounciation of "X" in the beginning (5)

"Tones" <saitone@onyx.dti.ne.jp> wrote:

>Many thanks for your replies,
>Anthony J. Bryant <ajbryant@indiana.edu> wrote
>in message news:395EE934.D5837A77@indiana.edu...
>
>> Chotto chigau ja nai desu ka? When I was in Japan, I heard it as
>> [kuserukusesu].... that's very different. <G>
>>
>> In American vernacular (as opposed to academic circles), initial X is
>> typically pronounced as /z/.
>
>I believe I pronounce like [kserkses] , but it unfortunately sounds like
>[kuserukusesu] to you , for there is no [ks] or any double consonants
>in Japanese. The psyche = not [saiki] , but [pusuke] here .
>But [kusanpippe] or  [zanthipi], which is better ?  I do not know .
>
>The question I would like to know is the reason why do you , ordinary people,
>pronounce the first X as / z / .
>As you , Anthony , pointed out , the well educated scholar is different
>from the mass.
>
>But frank did point as follows;
>>but I grant that it may sometimes become `z` through laziness.
>You have that sound and you can pronounce [ks] except in the beginning ,
>but you , through laziness or deficiencies of classical education , say [zan-]
>or [zer-] .
>
>Still need any comments.

Boiling down from the Shorter Oxford Dictionary under "X":

Words that begin with the prefix "ex-" followed by a vowel or "h"
are pronounced "eks-" like other "x" words when the stress is on the
"ex-". But they become "egz-" when the stress is on the following
syllable. So "axis" is pronounced "Aksis", but "exact" is pronounced
"egsAct". The same applies to some other words like "anxious"
(-ksh-) and "anxiety" (-gz-).

"In all words having initial x, (gz) is reduced to (z)".

So this is not a matter of idleness or ignorance: it is a normal
rule of English pronunciation. Most of the words to which it applies
are from Greek but not all: for example "xebec" has the old Spanish
"x" which I gather has now become "j".
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