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Phonetic Pronunciation of Aix-in-Provence

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Dec 31st, 2000, 06:47 PM
  #1
Larry
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Phonetic Pronunciation of Aix-in-Provence

as a neophyte, I have no idea how to pronounce this town. Help!! Thanks
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 07:07 PM
  #2
george
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good question...in this case the X is not silent; pronounce it like the thing you chop wood with: Ax
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 07:17 PM
  #3
Shannon
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I lived in Aix-en-Provence one summer. Actually it's not pronounced like Ax, it's pronounced just like the letter "X." So, X-en-Provence.
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 07:38 PM
  #4
george
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Hey, I'm from the South and the correct way to pronounce X is "AX"
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 07:38 PM
  #5
Rex
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At the risk of being too presumptuous, I am going to assume that you would like help with the WHOLE name:

Ex-sawn-Pro-vawnss
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 07:47 PM
  #6
Shannon
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I'm not French, but during my lengthy stay in the city I spent a lot of time with the locals. Never once did I hear the town pronounced AX. I'd have to agree with Rex's version. Maybe the true way to say it is in fact AX, but I never heard it pronounced that way by any natives. George, maybe you could shed some light on this for us!
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 07:49 PM
  #7
Shannon
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I'm not French, but during my lengthy stay in the city I spent a lot of time with the locals. Never once did I hear the town pronounced AX. I'd have to agree with Rex's version. Maybe the true way to say it is in fact AX, but I never heard it pronounced that way by any natives. George, maybe you could shed some light on this for us!
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 08:31 PM
  #8
george
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well, I could be wrong...let me check with my ax-wife
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 09:28 PM
  #9
Nano
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I think Aix rhymes with "Rex."
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 04:05 AM
  #10
harzer
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Shannon, how can there be a 'true way' to pronounce something and then the way the locals all do it? The locals define the 'true way'. As George points out, the true way of pronouncing 'X' in Alabama or wherever is 'ax', because that's what the locals say.

In French, the vowel combination 'ai' is invariably pronounced 'e' as in 'bet'. The 'x' is usually not pronounced at the end of a French word (eg 'paix', 'faux', 'Les Baux' etc). However here the word following ('en')starts with a vowel and so brings into play a feature called liaison, whereby the preceding consonant is now pronounced.
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 06:22 AM
  #11
Pris
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Let's not forget to give Larry some guidance regarding where to place the emphasis. While I've never been to the town, in my time in France I learned to put minor stress on the first two syllables and come down on the last -- which of course has the nasal "n" and the soft "s" sounds.

The first syllable is, very subtly, a cross between "ex" and "aches," but you will be better understood if you say "ex" than "aches" (esp. if you have a Southern or Midwester US accent). Rex's transcription is pretty good but the last syllable is the one to stress, not the "pro" which he capitalized.

Eks-sawn pro'VAWNSS
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 09:08 AM
  #12
Christina
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I think George was simply saying it would be pronounced as AX in the Southern US, but I'm not sure why one would want their pronunciation of a French term. Just wanted to say that the 'x' at end of Aix is pronounced but NOT because of liaison as someone said; that linguistic custom does not usu. pertain to proper nouns or even all words in all cases(and, in fact, a necessary liaison for a word ending in 'x' is a 'z' sound, not an 'x'--ie, deux enfants). For example, if the word "paix" were before a vowel, I cannot think of a case where you would use a liaison and pronounce the x as a z. The French liaison is only used in limited circumstances such as a noun and its modifier, an adjective and adverb (ie, tres important), a pronoun and verb (ie, nous avons), a verbal sequence, the verbs "etre" and "avoir" followed by about anything beginning with a vowel (Pierre est ici), or a preposition and the following word (sans autre...). The proper noun Aix is pronounced as "ex" in French just because that's the custom and that's the way they do it; there are always exceptions to pronunciation rules in any language. Probably because it is originally a derivation of Latin words pronounced that way (aquae sextius or something) That word is used in the names of other towns, also, and pronounced as "ex" in those cases, also, even when not before a vowel (ie, Aix-les-Bains, etc).
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 09:53 AM
  #13
Shannon
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What I meant by 'true way', was that possibly the proper pronunciation as defined by the language rules might actually mean that aix is indeed supposed to be pronounced ax, even though the general public pronounced it differently. It happens all the time in all languages. I however don't think that this is the case here, just posed the question to someone who I thought had more expertise than myself. I still believe that aix is pronounced ex. (When I tried pronouncing it ax during my first week I was corrected by more than one person.)
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 10:37 AM
  #14
Phonemia
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Dear fuzzy Shannon,

In this word, the "ai" is a diphthong (combination of two letters/sounds). In French the "i" is pronounced much as Americans would say "ee." Put "ah" together with "ee" and you might get "ay" -- but for French speakers the result is pretty much as Pris indicated, sort of an "eh..." sound, although with just a hint of the "ey" sound. Few regions of France pronounce "a" anything like what Americans say when they say "ax."
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 10:51 AM
  #15
Shannon
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I don't really apprecaite the fuzzy Shannon bit. I thought this forum was a way for us to get answers to questions and help others without feeling intimidated? I thought I was being curtious to George in letting him explain his opinion. And by the way if you followed this line of questioning you'd realize that I was the one who first said that ax was the incorrect pronunciation! And that I never agreed that ax was ever the correct pronunciation, quite the contrary! While I am not a native, I am quite familiar with the French language, its sounds, rules, etc. I was merely posing this question to someone who appeared to be a native of the area and seemed to have a differing opinion.
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 12:15 PM
  #16
Phonemia
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Apologies.
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 08:57 PM
  #17
Rex
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I completely agree with the clarification from Pris about the stress on the final syllable.

And clearly, one of the biggest problems with any phonetic spelling is that regional dialects will differ substantially on how to pronounce a "phonetically spelled" transcription.

In general, Aix does indeed rhyme with my name, Rex. Unless you're from a part of the US where my name is pronounced Ray-yucks.

Which is how my uncle Day-yull ("Del") sez it....
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 09:08 PM
  #18
elvira
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That "X" thing always tags me - like the first time I asked the bus driver if he went to Foux.
Okay, can someone tell me the correct pronunciation of Cannes and Caen? If you say it wrong, it comes out a rude word.
And you have not lived til you've heard Bordeaux pronounced by someone from South Boston.
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 05:42 AM
  #19
Larry
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Thanks to all - I am really glad I ax-ed
the question. Now that I have a good mnemonmic device, I hope I don't say
Rex-sawn-pro-vawnss!
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 09:58 AM
  #20
Sue
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Phonemia, "ai" in French is not a diphthong, but a single sound, usually pronounced short e as in bet, as Harzer pointed out. There are exceptions, of course (j'ai, je sais, aille combos). So Aix is pronounced X as Shannon noted.

Elvira, Cannes = cahn with not too broad an a. Caen = caw (nasal, but don't pronounce the n) (rhymes with French sans or France with no s at end)
 
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