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Yeah right! He USED TO say the word correctly and now he can't anymore?! Bull!

Yeah, right! Don't you ever try negating what I say again. Learn some manners. You can express your point of view without being an ***. Usenet does not give anyone a free ride on being rude. I see a lot of bull, but it's not from my experience.
Yes, he USED TO say it correctly, but when he began working with people who pronounced the word that way, his pronunciation began to change.

My maternal grandmother had a pronounced southern accent. When I was around her, I would similarly adopt her drawl. It isn't all that unusual. Whenever I'm exposed to anyone with an intrusive R, if exposed long enough, I'll begin to develop an intrusive R after awhile. When exposed to a lot of Chicago speakers, some vowels will flatten out more than I normally speak them.
The one that puzzles me though, and that seems a ... 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.

Probably not. But, don't take it personally. You are not alone in pronouncing it that way. I've heard that pronunciation come from very educated people. I'm not knocking your literacy skills. You can learn a bit though about intelligent discourse and difference from thought without being so abrasive.
And, no this isn't a speech from an old guy. I've probably only got a few years on you. Enough to remember Mariah Carey and Xscape. Classic Mariah rocked. ;-)
Larry
I was unaware, but ought not to have been surprised, ... (with long o), ax,ex, ask, esk, ash, esh, ass, ess.

The American Vulgate, a speaker of which I sometimes am, has (&st) ("ast") for "asked". That could conceivably be a contraction of either "akst" or "askt".

No sweat. The Dictionary To End All Dictionaries* will 'tend to it.

*Including itself, the way things are going: surely it will explode or something at some point?
Mike.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
NY Times sent me this today: GUEST COLUMNIST Changing Places ... way was on a Bill Cosby album in the 60's."

Is "fingernails" apostrophised in the original?

Yes, but what's the original? The print edition(s) of the NYT? What Gates first wrote? What some copy editor (if they still exist) passed on to NYT's computers? I personally suspect that the apostrophe crept in by mistaken application of a style book (if NYT has one). Is this a question for Safire?
Metathesis in words like "ask" is a common phenomenon with various causes. It would appear, for example, that the brain finds it easier to say "aks" than "ask", which is probably the origin of why it's commonly heard among less educated people in the UK.

I disagree. It seems to me that people learn ask/aks from other people, some of them illiterate/"less educated" and some of them because everybody says in their culture. Just as people learn to say Antartica instead of Antarctica, etc. I am glad that you are one of the few people in this thread to give me an idea of how widespread the word is. Thanks, Adrian.
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Adrian

Use your name (or almost anything else) @ treveneth.com for email. This will work unless you or somebody else who has done the same thing has put me on spammers' lists. Ain't redirection marvellous? (g)
I disagree. It seems to me that people learn ask/aks from other people, some of them illiterate/"less educated" and some of them because everybody says in their culture. Just as people learn to say Antartica instead of Antarctica, etc.

You are Bizarro Ray Wise and I hereby demand my .
No sweat. The Dictionary To End All Dictionaries* will 'tend to it.

Is this from MegaDodo publications, perchance?

Regards,
Mark Barratt
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Just as people learn to say Antartica instead of Antarctica, etc.

That last pronounced "eksetera", presumably.

Regards,
Mark Barratt
No sweat. The Dictionary To End All Dictionaries* will 'tend toit.

Is this from MegaDodo publications, perchance?

You could say that, yes.
Mike.
Just as people learn to say Antartica instead of Antarctica, etc.

That last pronounced "eksetera", presumably.

Well, while some people may learn to say "eksetera" from others, it differs from "Antartica" in that the latter is a natural extension of "Artic," which is a traditional pronunciation. The spelling "Arctic" is the result of the meddling of etymological respellers, and pronouncing the first "c" is a spelling pronunciation, like the pronunciation of "comptroller" with /mp/ rather than the traditional /n/.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Is "fingernails" apostrophised in the original?

Yes, but what's the original? The print edition(s) of the NYT? What Gates first wrote? What some copy editor (if ... apostrophe crept in by mistaken application of a style book (if NYT has one). Is this a question for Safire?

Or it could be correct (= the scraping of fingernails down a blackboard).