Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Could it be that the 'k' in 'desktop' goes often unpronounced?

Listen to this example. Although the phonetic transcription clearly shows a k to be pronounced, it is not audible at all in the sound rendition.

share|improve this question
    
I could hear the 'k'. (It's brief, but discernible.) You can hear it better at the examples on Forvo. –  J.R. Jun 6 '13 at 9:19
    
Right you are. It was a non-question, then ;-) –  Marcos Gonzalez Jun 6 '13 at 9:22
2  
Desktop and waistcoat share something in common, and it isn’t just that they are compound words. It’s that their phonetic structure positively invites suppression of that first stop between the s and the second stop. –  tchrist Jun 6 '13 at 11:03
    
In my speech, the 'k' in desktop turns into a stop. It's not pronounced normally, but it's distinguishable from destop. –  Peter Shor Jun 6 '13 at 11:34
1  
@PeterShor In careful enunciation, sure, but always? BTW, I think this is the phenomenon that suppresses the original p is raspberry. Most people don’t say the t in postpone, either. Other possible examples where this can happen in rapid speech include coast guard, fast ball, dustpan, breast-pump, rest-day, rustproof, postcure, postdental, post-doc, test-drive, breastplate, interest group, test bed, cost-benefit, disk drive — amongst many others. I can do those if I try, and sometimes do, but the tendency to suppress the first of two adjacent stops after an s/z is quite strong. –  tchrist Jun 6 '13 at 13:49
show 4 more comments

closed as too localized by J.R., James McLeod, Matt Эллен, Kristina Lopez, Hellion Jun 6 '13 at 21:33

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The letter 'k' is normally not pronounced.

It will be pronounced in deliberate, more formal situations, like acting and news speech, but in everyday speech it is mostly elided.

There may be some remnant of articulation, an attempt of the tongue toward velar closure but litle to no stop occurs, Even so, there will be some change; It will lengthen the articulation of the 's'.

Often when native speakers are asked such questions, the primacy of the code, the written expression, spells out the answer, which overwhelms any introspection. Consider this: do you stop at a stop sign when no one is around? Of course you slow down, but do you come to a complete stop? Again, of course you do. Except that you don't. Maybe you will now. You know from reading, from what the 'official' rules are what you are supposed to do, and that is your answer. But what is it you really do?

share|improve this answer
    
The sound of a native English speaker enunciating all of /'dɛsktap/ in a normal conversation is almost enough to make one giggle. There is the impulse to slap their back to see if they're choking. –  John Lawler Jun 6 '13 at 15:12
add comment

The letter k is normally pronounced. In that example, it is being pronounced quickly.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.