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USAGE: varying pronunciation of "kilo"

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Thursday, January 29, 2004, 20:50
In English compound words, the metric prefix "kilo" seems to normally
be pronounced however your particular 'lect renders /'kIl@/.  If,
however, the <o> is not reduced for whatever reason, such as in
when "kilo" is used as a word by itself (short for "kilogram",
usually used with respect to illegal narcotics), the  <i> seems to
automatically switch from /I/ to /i/.

If either statement is not true of your 'lect, that's fine; I'm not
trying to make a broad statement or get into YAEPT.  But I am wondering
why the /I/->/i/ shift happens where it does.  For me, it's quite
automatic; if I pronounce the o as an o instead of as a schwa, it takes
noticeable conscious effort to keep the <i> short, and the resulting
word sounds funny.  ("He calls his belt-notches his Kill-o-meter(TM)."

Is this a phonetic thing, some sort of vowel-harmony umlautish effect,
or is it just a learned distinction?



Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Tristan McLeay <zsau@...>