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On 10/1/04 5:28 AM, in article
NY Times sent me this today: . . . By ... English, but axing was something we did in the woods.

The novels of Kathy Reichs (published by Scribner's) attempt to show dialect pronunciation in print (unsuccessfully in my opinion.) They thus print: 1: ax for the chopping tool (i.e. standard US spelling) 2: axe for the dialect pronunciation of ask.

OED has "ax" as a dialect form (in English English) down to nearly 1600:(Common Teut.: OE. áscian was cogn. w. OFris. âskia, OS. êscôn, êscan, OHG. eiscôn, MHG. eischen, Ger. heischen, OTeut. *aiskôjan: cf. Skr. ish to seek, ichchh wish. The original long á gave regularly the ME. (Kentish) xi; but elsewhere was shortened before the two consonants, giving ME. a, and, in some dialects, e. The result of these vowel changes, and of the OE. metathesis asc-, acs-, was that ME. had the types x, ax, ex, ask, esk, ash, esh, ass, ess.

The true representative of the orig. áscian was the s.w. and w.midl. ash, esh, also written esse (cf. æsce ASH, wæsc(e)an WASH), now quite lost. Acsian, axian, survived in ax, down to nearly 1600 the regular literary form, and still used everywhere in midl. and south. dialects, though supplanted in standard English by ask, originally the northern form. Already in 15th c. the latter was reduced dialectally to asse, pa. tense ast, still current dialectally.)
justffoulkes
The one that puzzles me though, and that seems a bit more common, is "excape" or "ekscape". Why do some people pronounce it this way? I say "escape".

There was a '90s R&B group called "Xscape" (ask YJ).

Words with /Es-/ followed by a consonant have often been refashioned as /Eks-/ under the influence of Latinate words beginning with (see also and ). Historically, a similar process resulted in words like , from Old French .
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
NY Times sent me this today: GUEST COLUMNIST Changing Places ... "acsian," a nonstandard form of "ascian," the root of "ask."

I question the use of "nonstandard" here, at a time centuries before there was anything that might be called a standard dialect of English.

That caught my attention too. It manages to simultaneously denigrate a usage of a thousand years ago while taking the appearance if dispassionate linguistic learning.
The other bit I noticed was
"We hear the rappers say, 'I'm outta here' - the next thing you know, Clinton's saying. 'I'm outta here.' And both Senator John Kerry and President Bush are calling out, "Bring it on," like dueling mike-masters at a hip-hop slam."
Are those originally hip hip phrases? I don't know, but my gut reaction is that they are older than that.
Richard R. Hershberger
Furthermore, from what I have read, it is not at ... "acsian" did. Has new scholarship actually identified which was first?

Checking the etymology in AHD, they say both forms are from the reconstructed Germanic *aisko[/nq]^n, which in turn is from Proto-Indo-European
ais-sk-, from a root ais- 'to wish, desire'. I take it from this that in West Germanic the -ks- version developed from the -sk- version, as indeed one would expect, yes? (It seems less conceivable that a -ks- could become a -sk-.)

As to the question in your subject line, "'aks' or 'ax' just how widespread is this word?" I'd say it's rather rare.

Clearly you've never been to Brooklyn (Fourth Largest City in America), though arguably the most common form there is "axk" /&hksk/.

Fontana, don't you mean "aksksksksksksk"? It pleases me greatly to see my Nubian influence over this place continuing. I've turned this place boughetto!
Checking the etymology in AHD, they say both forms are from the reconstructed Germanic *aisko[/nq]^n, which in turn is from
Proto-Indo-European ais-sk-, from a root ais- 'to wish, desire'. I ... though arguably the most common form there is "axk" /&hksk/.

And if 'The Sopranos' is any way representative of New Jersey,

It's not.
it's not
unknown there.

It is. Ax, aksksks, aksssk, etc, are generally thought of as New York City and/or ghetti-isms. No one in Newark County, NJ says "axe"!

The prelude to wise guy demonstrating irrefutable logic
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NY Times sent me this today: GUEST COLUMNIST Changing Places ... from site cookies, there's nothing at all to worry about.

I don't know how popular it is. I know my father (white) now "axes" questions. I believe it is because he works around younger people.

Yeah right! He USED TO say the word correctly and now he can't anymore?! Bull!
The one that puzzles me though, and that seems a bit more common, is "excape" or "ekscape". Why do some people pronounce it this way? I say "escape".

I used to say "excape" before I saw the word spelt. I'm sure X-Scape & Mariah Carey didn't help that one much with the boughetto crowd.
I used to say "excape" before I saw the word spelt.

A great many mispronunciations are consequences of illiteracy. Illiterates often mispronounce my first name, but literate people never do.

Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
The other bit I noticed was "We hear the rappers say, 'I'm outta here' - the next thing you know, ... Are those originally hip hip phrases? I don't know, but my gut reaction is that they are older than that.

I'd've guessed that "I'm outta here" was older than that. The first Usenet hit is 1984. I associate its popularaity with Dennis Miller of Saturday Night Live ("That's the news, and I am outa here"). I'm not sure when he started doing that bit, but he joined the show in
1985 and there were Usenet references to it by 1988. It didn't strikeme as new then. According to IMDB, it was also said in The Sure Thing (1985) and A Fish Called Wanda (1988).
"Bring it on" first shows up on Usenet in 1983. Checking IMDB, there's a quote from Days of Our Lives :
Victor: Nicole, if you do anything to hurt ANYONE in my family I'll see you in hell!
Nicole: Bring it on, old man.
but that could have been any time since 1965. It's also listed as a quote from Body Heat (1981).
Neither phrase strikes me as peculiarly hip hop.

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >The body was wrapped in duct tape,
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >weighted down with concrete blocksPalo Alto, CA 94304 >and a telephone cord was tied

(650)857-7572
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Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
The other bit I noticed was "We hear the rappers ... my gut reaction is that they are older than that.

I'd've guessed that "I'm outta here" was older than that. The first Usenet hit is 1984. I associate its popularaity ... IMDB, it was also said in The Sure Thing (1985) and A Fish Called Wanda (1988).

Even if "I'm outta here" didn't originate specifically in rap circles, it gave rise to other variants associated with hiphop usage:

http://www.rapdict.org/terms/0
5000
(interj) A farewell bidding, from "I'm outta here", which evolved to "I'm Audi", and to "5000" after the Audi 5000 car, which got recalled and is a rare sight nowadays. "Yo, we outta here, 5000, G!" Ice Cube and Flavor Flav (I'm only out for one thang (1990)).
"Bring it on" first shows up on Usenet in 1983. Checking IMDB, there's a quote from Days of Our ... that could have been any time since 1965. It's also listed as a quote from Body Heat (1981).

"Bring it on" has been discussed here, as in this thread from February:

http://groups.google.com/groups?th=e05a319c36ceec77

We discussed the 2000 movie Bring It On (about battling squads of high school cheerleaders), which probably helped popularize the phrase. I also noted that allmusic.com lists more than 100 songs called "Bring It On", the earliest being a 1979 song by Shooting Star. And I suggested a possible lineage back to "Bring It On Home To Me" (1962, Sam Cooke) and "Bring It On Home" (1963, written by Willie Dixon for Sonny Boy Williamson). But Gates may be right that the phrase gained popularity in hiphop "battles" before the 2000 movie brought it to a wider (and whiter) audience.
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