Where's the X in espresso? especially?

jniec

Member
USA, English
I've been hearing "I'll have an ex-presso" and "ex-specially" (from native speakers)

I surmise that some people get the e - s - p pronunciation confused with e - x - p in the word "express."

Are these trends, or is it just a unique set of errors? Is there a speach impediment that would cause this mispronunciation?

Any thoughts?
 
  • jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    jniec said:
    I've been hearing "I'll have an ex-presso" and "ex-specially" (from native speakers)

    I surmise that some people get the e - s - p pronunciation confused with e - x - p in the word "express."

    Are these trends, or is it just a unique set of errors? Is there a speach impediment that would cause this mispronunciation?

    Any thoughts?
    Well, my dictionary has two spellings for this word: espresso and expresso.
    I personally say espresso, with the s sound. I guess it's a matter of personal choice. Either one is correct.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    jniec said:
    I've been hearing "I'll have an ex-presso" and "ex-specially" (from native speakers)

    I surmise that some people get the e - s - p pronunciation confused with e - x - p in the word "express."

    Are these trends, or is it just a unique set of errors? Is there a speach impediment that would cause this mispronunciation?

    Any thoughts?
    The thing with espresso is that it's an Italian word which means "express". So it's not surprising that English speakers feel tempted to customize it to their own language. ;)
     

    jniec

    Member
    USA, English
    Then what do you say about
    Ex-specially?

    Have you heard it pronounced that way?
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I've never noticed people pronouncing "especially" that way. It would seem to be the result of a fawlty analogy with all the other words that begin with "exp-".
     

    Axl

    Senior Member
    England, English
    jniec said:
    Then what do you say about
    Ex-specially?

    Have you heard it pronounced that way?
    I would say that it is merely an error. Or somebody trying to be 'hip'.
    I can't say I've ever heard it pronounced that way, except by young children. Is it something you've heard often?

    Axl.
     

    rpleimann

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Outsider said:
    I've never noticed people pronouncing "especially" that way. It would seem to be the result of a fawlty analogy with all the other words that begin with "exp-".

    Actually, my mother says "expecially," and it drives me crazy! She also says "feesh" and "weesh" for fish and wish, and "worsh" for wash. I think it may be dialect thing, because she is a very intelligent, educated woman. She was born near Toledo, Ohio.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    rpleimann said:
    Actually, my mother says "expecially," and it drives me crazy! She also says "feesh" and "weesh" for fish and wish, and "worsh" for wash. I think it may be dialect thing, because she is a very intelligent, educated woman. She was born near Toledo, Ohio.
    Funny that because I heard her the other day speaking perfectly normally, but complaing how her daughter is so deaf she mishears everything she says...;)
     

    jniec

    Member
    USA, English
    rpleimann said:
    Actually, my mother says "expecially," and it drives me crazy! She also says "feesh" and "weesh" for fish and wish, and "worsh" for wash. I think it may be dialect thing, because she is a very intelligent, educated woman. She was born near Toledo, Ohio.
    OK, one of the people I know who says eX-specially is from Iowa. Could this be a mid-west (America) thing?
     

    DesertCat

    Senior Member
    inglese | English
    Being originally from the Pacific Northwest where espresso practically became a cult (just kidding) I cringe when I hear it pronounced expresso. I believe it's incorrect. Incidentally, my dictionary only shows it pronounced with the s.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    Living PRESENTLY in the Pacific Northwest, espresso is not just a cult--it is a religion! My cousin could not believe when he moved here from Sacramento California that every little 7-11, every little RocketMart, Conoco and Ma and Pa's gas station where you can get a corn dog or a slim Jim (jerkey stick) also had an espresso stand.

    All that business on the TV show Frazier, with the vanilla latte made with soy milk, supercharged with skinny caramel and heated, but not steamed; is a part of everyday life!

    I was also indignant when ordering a mocha in California, and they got the espresso out of the refrigerator and put it in the microwave to heat up before adding the chocolate. What? I don't get to see you grind up the beans and pour in the Evian water in the process?

    Watching someone make your espresso is almost as sacred as a Japanese tea ritual!

    PS: Here in the US we can buy coffee beans and we can buy ground coffee in an airtight bag or can. We started grinding our beans about 25 or so years ago, when a person who worked with my husband said that he had to grind his coffee beans because he was allergic to cockroaches....

    ....I'll let you ruminate on that one.
     

    ag228

    New Member
    English
    The thing with espresso is that it's an Italian word which means "express". So it's not surprising that English speakers feel tempted to customize it to their own language. ;)
    Espresso means 'Pressed out' in italian. There is nothing express about it... You have to grind beans and put them through a machine that puts serious pressure to boiling water that comes through the beans. If you want express coffee try nescafe with boiled water.

    The proper way to say it is espresso or caffe with the flick on the e.

    Expresso is from people saying it wrong.. But its easier to say so has been accepted as another word for espresso.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    When espresso coffee began to arrive in Britain after World War II a lot of people said "expresso" simply because they were used to talking about express trains and express mail. My impression is that we've got over that now.
    As for "expecially", I've heard it only from Italians who study English; they are used to the fact that in many cases English has an "x" (expand, explode) where the Italian equivalent has an "s" and they assume it must always be so.
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/expresso states it is variant spelling of espresso.

    Rightly or wrongly I use the X version, I think, but then I have just had a nice glass of wine.... :D:) and I have no idea when I last wrote or spoke it or even read it (either version)......

    It was always pronounced with an X, wasn't it? :confused:

    GF..

    Just give me a cup of coffee.....
     
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    Nenio

    Senior Member
    French - France
    I believe "pressed out" and "express" are very similar, and saying "expresso" is a very intuitive sort of mistake.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but "ex-" in Latin means "out", doesn't it? So "pressed out" = "ex-pressed"?
    I'm not sure the "ex" sound exists in Italian, but perhaps people just tend to replace it where it should have been, somehow, and saying "espresso" is simply a further acknowledgement of the Italian origins of the drinks...
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    I speak Italian, but I still say 'expresso' because its the way people understand it best here. Its because, being a foreign word, people don't know how its spelled, so they say it how they think its spelled.
     

    Phil-Olly

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    When espresso coffee began to arrive in Britain after World War II a lot of people said "expresso" simply because they were used to talking about express trains and express mail. My impression is that we've got over that now.
    I agree, and I'm sure that, back then, we went to Expresso Bars - and that's how it was spelled. There was even a Cliff Richard film called "Expresso Bongo". Those days, if you ordered an expresso, you would get what we now recognise as a cappuccino.

    With the renaissance of Italian coffee in the UK in the eighties (I think), we learned that espresso was black and had no "x" - or was it only those of us who considered ourselves to be coffee snobs/ Italophiles?
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Those days, if you ordered an expresso, you would get what we now recognise as a cappuccino.
    I wasn't sure about this because I was only a kid at the time; thanks for confirming my suspicion! And I also vaguely remembered the Expresso Bongo film but I had no idea whether coffee came into it.:D
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    I've never heard "expresso" or "expecially" in my life.

    Both sound ridiculous. Like people who say aks instead of ask. Or nuculear instead of nuclear.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The Latin root is exprimere (to press out) and its past participle is expressus. One could make the argument that expresso is etymologically "more" correct and espresso is a modern variant :D
    I wonder when Italian changed from the x to the s.
    If you insist on using the word from the original language from the era when it was coined, espresso will do you fine.
    I had forgotten about both Cliff Richard and the film :(

    The meaning of express rapid is a much later evolution from the railway era!
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I've never heard "expresso" or "expecially" in my life.

    Both sound ridiculous. Like people who say aks instead of ask. Or nuculear instead of nuclear.
    They probably do sound ridiculous if you've never heard them! But when you hear them a lot, whether ridiculous or not, the point is to understand where these mistakes come from.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    Can i just add, if some people don't like using english words borrowed from other languages, then rather than the childspeak of "expresso", it would make more sense to say "expressed coffee".

    I don't think there is much mystery about the idea that some people just mispronounce things. Whatever the cause, I think the point is to understand what is correct.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Ahh, but what is considered "correct" varies from time to time, place to place, and group to group. Like spelling and capitalization of I and English!
    Are you seriously saying the generation of Cliff Richard's era used "childspeak"?
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    The cause of both is ignorance, it's all much the same. And sorry I use an iphone and I'm lazy with my capitalisation haha.
     

    Tunalagatta

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We should probably all aim to pronounce words like espresso as accurately as we can, but inevitably we will fall short, even if we do pronounce it with an s and not an x sound.

    There is a certain stigma attached to saying foreign words correctly (people might think you are, or should I say, one is, being pretentious), so sometimes it's better to follow the herd and not draw too much attention to oneself. For example, I still call the dish spaghetti bo-lo-NEIZ (bolognese), not bo-lo-GNE-ze, or better still, spaghetti con ragù, because I feel a bit silly if I'm talking to a non-Italian.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    I don't really care much, but as a rule of thumb, basically I think there is a difference between having an accent, and just making no attempt to pronounce something correctly. Why bother trying to change yourself to fit in with people who don't know in the area you happen to be in? If you come here to australia where our culture was largely shaped by italian immigration, the norm is to be culturally aware and pronounce things the right way.
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    I wonder when Italian changed from the x to the s.
    A long time ago. By the Early Middle Ages according to this articlehttp://www.jstor.org/stable/408975?seq=3 (figure 2, stage 1).

    The meaning of express rapid is a much later evolution from the railway era!
    Express train, express car, express delivery, etc. do indeed go back to the railway era (19th century), but this is in fact earlier than the use of espresso with reference to coffee, which is not attested in Italian or English until the 20th century.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The cause of both is ignorance, it's all much the same. And sorry I use an iphone and I'm lazy with my capitalisation haha.
    So are you saying that one of the two ways of saying Paris (pariss and paree) is correct and the other is "ignorant"?
    And what if people are lazy in pronunciation the way you are in capitalization? One is acceptable and the other is not?
    There are a lot of variations of pronunciations in English around the world.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    So are you saying that one of the two ways of saying Paris (pariss and paree) is correct and the other is "ignorant"?
    And what if people are lazy in pronunciation the way you are in capitalization? One is acceptable and the other is not?
    There are a lot of variations of pronunciations in English around the world.
    No because Paris is an English word. Like I've already said, there is a difference between having an accent and saying something incorrectly. Obviously once a mistake becomes the norm then what's done is done. But until that happens, a mistake is just that.

    I'm 22 years old and if I spelt things here the way I do 80% of the time, I would irritate the crap out of most of you. But my way of spelling is probably close to being more common now than correct English, but you don't see me trying to say that "talkin like this shud bcom correct spellin coz its how ppl normally write now".
     
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    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    No because Paris is an English word.
    It is? I was pretty sure it was a French one, seeing as it is the capital of France, but whatever you say. Espresso is not really an Italian word, it's a word we've borrowed from them, like latte (try ordering one of those in Italy, and your coffee will be rather odd) so we can pronounce it how we want, seeing as there is a lack of universally observed rules about pronunciation in our language.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Espresso is the Italian word. Looks like expresso is an Anglicized form :D
    (There are other countries where expresso is used, but they don't speak English - or, apparently religiously follow the Italian pronunciation either - but this is an English only forum , as opposed to an Italian forum!)

    Heaven knows there are no "universally accepted" rules about the process of Anglicization. Everyone can espress their own opinion on that assertion :D
     
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    Phil-Olly

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    The question of how we pronounce foreign place names is fascinating - and probably a case for a separate thread.

    What interests me is our tendency to apply the rules of English spelling to foreign words, as if the spelling were more significant than the sound. This is obviously perfectly excusable if you come across an unfamiliar word in writing, and have no idea how it is pronounced locally. But I think we typically hear a foreign word, ask 'how do you spell that?' and then immediately Anglicize the pronunciation, rather than finding an English spelling that would more accurately reflect the local pronunciation. Why don't we just spell Paris "Paree", for example?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Agreed. That's pretty much what these threads turn out to be: expressions (or should I say espressions) of opinion. :)

    JulianStuart said:
    There are a lot of variations of pronunciations in English around the world.
    Doubly agree. There are a lot of variations around one English-speaking country.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I've been hearing "I'll have an ex-presso" and "ex-specially" (from native speakers)

    I surmise that some people get the e - s - p pronunciation confused with e - x - p in the word "express."

    Are these trends, or is it just a unique set of errors? Is there a speach impediment that would cause this mispronunciation?

    Any thoughts?
    I expect that most people who say expresso do so simply because they have heard others use it.

    Of nine dictionaries online with have paper versions and which list expresso as a variant of espresso, I found only one which identified expresso as an error.

    I couldn't point to an example where I have heard expecially used. It sounds like something which might be part of a dialect, but the examples on Google Books don't seem to support this--they seem mostly to be the result of inaccurate transcription via optical character recognition. This is supported by the entries for especial and especially in the Oxford English Dictionary, which show no exp- variants for these words.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I don't think "expresso" is universal among English speakers or is even becoming so. I think that at least in GB there is not a process of anglicisation and that "expresso" is less common than it used to be. That's why we can discuss its "correctness" because many people recognise it as an Italian word and are happy to know the correct pronunciation/spelling. It's not like "Paris" with the "s" pronounced, which has become the English translation of the French name.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I think the Paris example is anglicization. As you note, expresso is becoming less common but was another example of anglicization. The resurgence in popularity of the drink and interest in its origins made people aware of its Italian form which became preferred. One would obviously be incorrect to state that expresso is an Italian word. However, is it an issue of "correctness" in English? Can we always extrapolate to simple numerical values of usage to calculate right vs. wrong? Who's going to tell the French they use the wrong form because they don't use the Italian form?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes. Just as France is an English word. And Australie is a French word. And Milan is an English word.
    The difference being that both France and Paris are spelled the same way in French and English but pronounced differently, while Australie/Australia and Milan/Milano are actually have different spellings in the two respective languages.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    The difference being that both France and Paris are spelled the same way in French and English but pronounced differently, while Australie/Australia and Milan/Milano are actually have different spellings in the two respective languages.
    Actually the spelling really does not matter. Just because a word happens to be spelt the same in two languages does not mean that it is the same word and bound to one language alone. Do you also reject grand and petite as english words?
     

    Cayenarama

    Senior Member
    English-England
    Actually the spelling really does not matter. Just because a word happens to be spelt the same in two languages does not mean that it is the same word and bound to one language alone. Do you also reject grand and petite as english words?
    Exactly. Imagine if you applied this to Japanese words 'spelt' using Chinese characters.
     
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