How to syllabify may be certain in many words. But some words have several ways, I think. For example, "extra" can be divided into "ek" + "stra" and "eks" + "tra". Does this mean that people remember a word in several different ways? Or do people usually have a fixed manner individually to utter a word which can be divided in several ways, with more easiness?

  • I don't know if it is universal for everyone, but one way or the other will feel more natural or be easier to say. For me, the hard K is easier to say than the softer ks sound, and "stra" and "tra" are about equal. So I pronounce it the first way. – fixer1234 May 8 '17 at 5:24
  • And some people say it eks-ter-uh or maybe that’s ek-stir-uh... – Jim May 8 '17 at 5:34
  • There are rules for phonological syllabification; for instance, if extra were syllabified into eks.tra, the /t/ would be lightly aspirated, but if it is syllabified into ek.stra, the /t/ would be part of an initial cluster and couldn't be aspirated. There are lots of little clues like that in pronunciation; of course spelling messes it up here because the /ks/ cluster has only one letter in extra. – John Lawler May 8 '17 at 13:28

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