ps...(psalm) - pronunciation

Discussion in 'English Only' started by audiolaik, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member


    Could you, native speakers of English, make some comments on what I found in the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary:

    When can one say /psa:m/, not /sa:m/?

    Thank you!

  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Only when being deliberately facetious, for the laugh.
    I have never heard the p in psalm pronounced otherwise.
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The /ps/ pronunciation was used in dictionaries well into modern times. In the early twentieth century no doubt the two (/ps/ and /s/) were both possibilities, if only because dictionaries of that period said they were. But I have never, ever, heard anyone at all pronounce a /p/ in words like psalm, pseudo, psychiatry.
  4. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    I third the above - I had no idea that a /ps/ pronunciation was even permissible within relatively recent times.
  5. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    I second what Tim said. So that's four of us.
  6. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I'll take the fifth. Make it single-malt, please.

    In contrast to psalm, however, it's interest to note: pronunciation: pshaw!
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Here's a sixth:)

    If you pronounced the p in psalm, audio, people would psnigger....
  8. mplsray Senior Member

    I recently mentioned in the thread "Pronunciation of the word 'doth'" that Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, was famous (or infamous) for having more variant pronunciations than any other English-language dictionary.

    In the case of psalm, it shows four current pronunciations and one archaic pronunciation, /'sæm/. In none of them is the p pronounced.
  9. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    If I were to pronounce the "p" in "psalm", people would think I was taking the ps. And they would be right.
  10. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The more the merrier then. I'll be the eighth and say that I've never heard psalm with the <p> pronounced: <ps> is always /s/.:D

    Psst! don't tell anyone...
  11. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    I've only once pronounced the 'p' in 'pseudo' in English, but it was not deliberate and I promise not to do it again. Never a 'p' in psalm or 'pneumonia'.
  12. Ann O'Rack Senior Member

    UK English
    I'll see you and raise you one - make that ten that agree the 'p' is silent.
  13. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Really there wouldn't be a lot of point in having so many silent letters in English if we had to pronounce them.

    (This thought made much more sense when it was still safely inside my head.)
  14. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    And if you said the word "snigger" in the US, you'd probably get into pserious trouble for racism.
  15. Ann O'Rack Senior Member

    UK English
    There are some foul language filters that turn the word that describes silly giggling with a hint of a dirty mind into s******!
  16. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Pslease allow me to psnicker (AE) at the folks psitting around at Longmans.
    They are welcome to advocate for any psilly psronunciations they pslease, but
    we pshall not take them too pseriously.

    I wonder how a Psratchettian Igor would psronounce any of thith?

    PsPS- snigger and snicker and, one psupposes, psnigger and psnicker, are synonyms in
    AE, and both are used without risk of pcensorpship.

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