Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The junction of /n/ and <-ction>

John Maidment's blog post of the 27th of August on the word-final letter sequence <-ction> inspired me to dig a tiny bit deeper. John writes in his blog post:
If the sound preceding the sequence is s, then the pronunciation is tʃn, as in combustion, digestion, question and the like. For other preceding consonants the pronunciation is ʃn, as in deception, invention, protection etc.
What happens when there is another consonant preceding <-ction>? The only consonant that seems to be possible in this position is /ŋ/ (= <n>). Here's an incomplete list of words with this sequence:
  1. conjunction
  2. distinction
  3. (dys/mal)function
  4. extinction
  5. junction
  6. sanction
  7. unction
Two pronunciations are likely to be heard: /ŋkʃ(ə)n/ or /ŋʃ(ə)n/. Occasionally an inserted  /t/ may be heard as, for example, in /dʒʌŋktʃ(ə)n/. Whether this is induced by spelling or something else, I don't know. German speakers of English are particularly 'fond' of the /t/, because in German the <t> is regularly pronounced in words such as 'Konjunktion' (= conjunction) /kɔnjuŋkˈtsjoːn/.

1 comment:

  1. I find that in "extinction" I'm extremely likely to omit the final [k], because of the earlier [kst] cluster. In all other words I usually retain it, at least in careful speech.