Date: Wed, 6 Aug 1997 15:23:39 -0400 From: Jesse T Sheidlower 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. Thanks, Jesse Sheidlower