Date: Wed, 6 Aug 1997 15:23:39 -0400
From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM
Subject: devel. of flaccid /flaesid/ pron.?
I was recently asked about the development of the pronunciation
/flaesid/, rather than the older and preferred form /flaeksid/,
for _flaccid._ The more I think about it, the less sure I am of
how this pronunciation could have developed.
I'm not sure how early it is, but some turn-of-the-century usage
books specify /flaeksid/, which suggests that there was variation
at that time.
Most words with an orthographic -cc- have this element pronounced
as /ks/ (accident, accept, etc.) or /k/ (accommodate, desiccate, occur,
etc.), with some foreign exceptions (bocci, fettuccini). So it would
seem that a person unfamiliar with _flaccid_ would generalize it
probably to the "correct" /flaeksid/ rather than an /s/.
It also seems that there are enough very common words with the
-cc- going to /ks/ that there wouldn't be any need to assimilate
to /s/. The only word I can think of with -cc- /s/ is a variant
pronunciation of _succinct_ with an /s/, but here one could either
explain it as an assimilation to the first s or as a loss of the
/k/ at the end of an unaccented first syllable, which is not the
pattern of _flaccid._
Leaving aside any considerations of spelling, one might predict
a /flaesid/ pron on the analogy of such far more common words as
_acid, lucid,_ or _placid,_ and perhaps the explanation is as
simple as this.
I'm not very knowledgable about pronunciation, so I'd welcome
any input anyone has.
jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]panix.com