From the archives...
The following discussion was originally posted on the (now discontinued) LOE Forum.
In the word example, X is pronounced /gz/ rather than /ks/.
How can we show the difference in marking words? And is there any rules when to pronounce /gz/?
- C (an English learner, trying to be an EFL teacher)
I am not sure if I say /gz/. However, notice that /g/ and /k/ are a voice and unvoiced pair. Probably it tends to a voiced sound when it is before a voiced sound.
Thank you :)
Do you pronounce X in execute, execution and executant, executive, executor in the same way, always pronouncing /ks/?
Sorry to repeat the question but I would like to know for sure if I can teach the sound of X in these words in the same way.
For me it seems that when ex is followed by a syllable that begins with an accented vowel, the X is pronounced /gz/.
I say /ks/ in all of these. - Denise
OK. Thank you very much. - C
Just to add a perspective from a different regional dialect - I say /ks/ on some of these and /gz/ on others - and as you said, it is when followed by an accented vowel that I tend to say /gz/. When the sound is followed by a stressed vowel, there is a tendency to say the voiced sounds /g/ and /z/ instead of /ks/ - it is easier.
However, I think you can teach the sound of X as /ks/. Then, when there is a word in which many people say it closer to /gz/, discuss this and have students feel the similarities and differences between the sounds. Students with a very precise ear or strong interest in linguistics may find it interesting to note the subtle difference that often occurs, and may find it happening in their own speech naturally in order to make the words easier to pronounce, but /ks/ is not incorrect.
Thank you so much for the clear explanation.
Since we learn English as a foreign language, we tend to rely heavily on pronunciation guides in the dictionaries.
When the LOE tells us how to pronounce a word differently from the dictionaries, I would like to know what is happening.
You helped me a lot. - C