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.

Finite and infinite come from the same root word, but the prefix of the latter completely changes the pronunciation. Speaking English as a second-language and reading a lot more than I listen, it makes me nervous that I might be missing other such changes.

Is this an isolated occurrence?

share|improve this question
1  
I haven't checked out the whole list, but a brief skim here didn't throw up anything else) –  Benjol Feb 17 '11 at 10:10
    
    
@Andy: I saw that one, but found no additional examples. –  Tim N Feb 17 '11 at 11:11
    
No, you're right, I skimmed through as well and couldn't find any other examples. I just wanted to suggest it as related reading. –  Andy F Feb 17 '11 at 11:15
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If I read your question correctly, you are looking for examples of words that change pronunciation because of prefixes. Another example would be famous (ˈfā-məs) and infamous (ˈin-fə-məs).

I don't know what this phenomenon is called, but it can also apply to other derivations from the same word; for instance, house (haʊs) and houses (ˈhaʊzɪz), (or the verb house (haʊz)), photograph (ˈfō-tə-ˌgraf) and photographer (fə-ˈtä-grə-fər).

share|improve this answer
add comment

Another example of word that changes pronunciation because a prefix is belief, which is pronounced /bəˈlif/ or /biˈlif/ in American English, and where the prefix un- changes the pronunciation to /ˌənbəˈlif/.

share|improve this answer
    
I thought it was /bəˈliːf/ in AmE and /bɪˈliːf/ in BrE. –  Tragicomic Feb 17 '11 at 13:22
    
The pronunciations I reported are the ones NOAD reports as American English pronunciations. –  kiamlaluno Feb 17 '11 at 13:24
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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