According to this article:

The Pronunciation of ‘C’ and ‘G’ generally (but not always) depends upon the letter following either 'C' or 'G'. If the following letter is ‘E’, ‘I’ or ‘Y’, the pronunciation is said to be “soft” (as in cell & large). If the following letter is anything else - including a space - the pronunciation is termed “hard”. (as in call & great)

I'm wondering if these letters (‘C’ and ‘G’) retain their pronunciation in blend words.
For example consider the word "Regex". This word is made from combining "Regular" and "Expression". How should the letter "g" in Regex be pronounced? Soft, like in "General"? or hard, like in "Regular"?

  • 3
    Those "rules" don't always apply. Celt and girdle, for example, have the "hard" pronunciations. Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 17:59
  • 3
    Bagel, auger, target, lager ... and I've never heard Regex pronounced with the hard g. Too "hard" to enunciate it that way, in my opinion.
    – Robusto
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


There is no "should" or prescriptive rule for pronunciation of unfamiliar words. What people do which resembles a rule is to apply common patterns, such as soft g before e, when a new word comes along.

As this new word circulates, you are likely to hear a lot of “rEH-jeks”, following the common pattern, but also a lot of “rEGG-ex”, after the word “rEGG-u-lar”. And eventually one will win the day. We'll just have to wait to see how it turns out.

  • No doubt you meant "such as soft g before e"? Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 11:46
  • Think about GIGO, which always has a g sound, not a j sound.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 1:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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