Pronounciation of "X" in the beginning (6)

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

news:7FF75.1785$_R5.161795@newsall.dti.ne.jp...
> 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.

Frank is right - the primary rule of English (and indeed all languages) is
the path of least resistance - laziness.   If a borrowed word has a cluster
of sounds that is foreign to the native model, it is reduced.  "ps"  and
"ks" are reduced.  Upsilon similarly does not have the "French u" sound,
though it does in German, where the "u umlaut" corresponds exactly.
Similarly the "ph" "ch" and "th" are not pronounced as in Classical Greek,
though the "th" has the Byzantine (and modern Greek) sound, since that
phoneme exists in native English words.   By contrast it is pronounced "t"
in German and French.

Relative to Japanese, I once did some work with several Japanese
engineers, who pronounced "simulation" (a word they use all the time)
as "shimi-yu-reh-shon" with the first "i" much shortened though
perceptible (they could not speak English nor I Japanese).  It is
in fact transcribed that way in the katakana syllabary.    We
also discussed "besu-boru" (pron more like bes-bor) (baseball).  So I
think that the same principle applies - replace the foreign sounds
with something that is close.

It should be noted that this universal principle (;-) is routinely
violated by American television reporters who pronounce
every Spanish name with the great rhotaic and guttural flourish
derived from their two years of high-school Spanish.   It would
break your heart to hear them say "Nicaragua"  (nee-kah-rrrrraaahh-
ghhwah)  (which I hear on the BBC as "nikuh-rah-gyoo-ah")   ;-)

Regards,
Musca Volitans