Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 12:41:24 -0500
From: "Donald M. Lance"
Subject: Re: emoticon

Mark Mandel asks:

>(BTW)^2 and back on topic, how do YOU pronounce "emoticon"? The first time
>I saw the word I thought /i.'mat.I.kan/, as
>in "lexicon", and that pron still echoes faintly for me, although I say
>the word now as /'i.mot.'ay.kan/. It's an awkward
>clash of spelling and pron.

Because it's based on 'emotion' rather than 'motliness', I say /i 'mo ti
`kan/, or may use the lax [I] in either or both syllables 1 and 3. I don't
remember hearing anyone use the first-mentioned pronunciation.

(I'm not really fussing about Mark's syllable boundaries, but thought I'd
expand the discussion. Actually the boundary would be smack-dab in the
middle of the voiced t for me. For those with strongly articulated
intervocalic /t/, the division would be as I show it, I think. Mark's
division reflects etymology, assuming 'emotion' underlies this form. His
syllable division may be accurate with the "short o" in syllable 2, at
least as I would (mis)say it. Some dictionaries have opted for
etymological syllabication, while others try to reflect point of lowest
articulatory energy, though they state their rules in terms of letters
rather than phonetic units.)