3

The word exercise has 3 syllables and divided as ex-er-cise. In teaching pronunciation can I divide it as ek-ser-cise since the letter x is the sound of ks together? It seems to make more sense.

  • 4
    You can, and in fact that's probably the best way to teach it. The word divisions for hyphenation only give the divisions for pronunciation some of the time. – Peter Shor Oct 21 '15 at 13:43
  • 2
    It can't be said too often: There is no consistent reliable set of rules for pronouncing English words from their spelling. Throw the alphabet away except for recognizing words, and use phonemics for teaching pronunciation. Kenyon and Knott is free online, and here's a chart of American phonemes with an example transcription. – John Lawler Oct 21 '15 at 14:43
  • Thank you Peter and John. You guys have been so helpful and having that link to Kenyon and Knott is a gem. – user143693 Oct 21 '15 at 16:38
  • the phonetic spelling should be more like 'ek-sir-size' – AmI Nov 30 '15 at 23:17
1

That is how the Miriam-Webster dictionary does it:

exercise

  noun ex·er·cise \ˈek-sər-ˌsīz\
0

Different reference works have different ways of dividing words into syllables. There's >usually< no issue about how many syllables a word has, but rather concerning where the breaks fall. My own practice is to honor the etymology where this is possible, as in lob-o-to-my, not lo-bot-o-my [Merriam Webster], or psy-cho-log-ist, not psy-chol-o-gist [American Heritage], Is "bot" a proper word element? Is "chol"?

  • 1
    It would be great if we all said 'loeb-oe-toem-ee', but you shouldn't blindly honor the etymology if you are teaching common prounciation. – AmI Nov 30 '15 at 23:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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