ps...(psalm) - pronunciation

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Senior Member

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

Note: words spelt with ps... are occassionally pronounced with initial ps, as written, rather than with the usual plain s sound. Thus psalm is occassionally pronounced /psa:m/. This is not shown in individual entries.
When can one say /psa:m/, not /sa:m/?

Thank you!

  • 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.


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


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Here's a sixth:)

    If you pronounced the p in psalm, audio, people would psnigger....


    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/?
    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.


    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...


    Senior Member
    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.)

    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******!


    Senior Member
    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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