pronunciation: c (k or s?)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by gingerr, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. gingerr Senior Member

    Turkey Turkish
    Hi. Pronounciation of "c" is a problem for me. On an English teaching site, there is a rule like this: If there is one of "a,o,u" after "c" , "c" is pronunced as the sound "k" in cat-cow-cut. If there is one of "e,i" after "c" , "c" is pronunced as the sound "s" in celtic-cinema. Is this rule right? Thank you for your answers.
  2. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    Yes, that's exactly right.
  3. Mr_Antares Senior Member

    Boston, USA
    US English
    This rule is generally right, but in English pronunciation, nothing is 100% absolute.

    For words that begin with "c", words where the second letter is "e", "i" or "y" pronounce like "s" and most others pronounce like "k". ("cz" as in "czar" is a special case)

    We have many words borrowed from other languages, and sometimes these words don't follow all of the "rules".
  4. Montesacro Senior Member

    An exception (among many others): in sceptic the first "c" is pronounced like "k".
  5. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    For some of the words that are not following the rules we have special marks. For example garçon is pronouned like gar sawn. The diacritical mark under the c lets you know that it will be pronounced like an s even though the c is followed by an o.
  6. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    In fact, I pronounce "celtic" as if it began with a "k". Both pronounciations of this word are acceptable in AE.
  7. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Also fairly often spelled skeptic ~ personally I always spell it that way to avoid confusion with septic.

    In BE: /seltik/ is the name of a Glasgow football team; otherwise /keltik/. (This is the general agreement for this word: some people differ even on this.)

    Another set that comes to mind [!] is words beginning encephalo- /enkefalo/. Again, some people prefer to pronounce these with an /s/
  8. Ritterbruder Member

    Chinese(Mandarin and Shangahainese), English
    I have heard Celtic being pronounced as both "keltik" and "seltik".
    I say it with a "k".

    I have never heard people pronounce encephal- as "enkefal-". I know it comes from Greek but I am not so sure about how C's are pronounced in Greek.
  9. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    The Greek letter kappa looks and behaves more or less exactly like English k
  10. mplsray Senior Member

    Such diacritical marks are often not used in newspapers, however, and were used even less in the past. Another example, also borrowed from French, is "façade"/"facade." To complicate things, there are a Café Lurçat and a Bar Lurçat here in Minneapolis in which the ç is pronounced /k/.

    As for the rule being discussed, exceptions include:

    In asci (plural of ascus), sc is pronounced either as /sk/ or as simply /s/.

    The plural of amicus curiae is amici curiae, where the c in amici can be pronounced /k/ or /s/. There may well be other Latin-derived plurals which have more than one pronunciation for a c followed by an i.

    In ASCII, SC is pronounced /k/.

    In fascism, sc is pronounced like the sh in she or simply as /s/.
  11. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    Also it seems to me that 'cae' is often pronounced as 'see' (Caesar, caecum...)
  12. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Another one is Cymric /kimrik/ or /kumrik/.
    As you can see, Gingerr, we are having to scrape the barrel to find words that don't conform to the rule. (I have no idea what an ascus is). To all intents and purposes the rule is pretty airtight.

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