> All /sk/ went to /S/ in English long ago, and then we
> borrowed a raft of
> words in /sk/- from Norse, but we still have trouble pronouncing /sk/
> finally:  hence /"&st@r\Ik/ ~ /"&st@r\Iks/ is very common, and
> many dialects have /&ks/ for "ask".  (But "risk" is not
> commonly changed.)

I think this variability applies to other s+stop groups as well. Thus,
_wasp_ was _waeps_ ~ _waesp_ in OE (and the _ps_ is correct
etymologically BTW). Carl Hostetter posted a lengthy list of such
doublets in OE to Lambengolmor some time ago, and I reproduce the
relevant fragment.

In Old English, for example, metathesized and
non-metathesized versions of words occur even within the same text. As
of the word _fisc_ 'fish' (Gothic _fisks_), the poem _Andreas_ has both
_fisces_ gen. sg. and _fixum_ (_x_ -= _ks_) dat. pl. The pl. _fixas_
occurs (and _dixas_ 'dishes', _muxle_ 'muscle', _tux_ 'tusk', _waxan_
'wash', and many others beside). The doublet _acsian_, _ascian_ 'ask' is
particularly well-known. Other doublets include _aepse_/_aespe_ 'aspen',
_cops_/_cosp_ 'fetter', and _wlips_/_wlisp_ 'lisping' (all < *_sp_); and
_waesp_/_waeps_ 'wasp' (< *_ps_).

Pavel Iosad               [log in to unmask]

Nid byd, byd heb wybodaeth
                 --Welsh saying