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On 7 September 2010 10:52, Peter Bleackley <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Initial <x> is only found in loanwords or learned coinings in English.
> Neither /ks/ nor /gz/ is permissible word initially in English phonotactics.
> I imagine that the rule is that impermissible initial clusters simplify to
> their last element, and that <x> is interpreted as /gz/, simplifying to [z],
> because of the following vowel.
>
> Note that French seems to be more tolerant of odd initial clusters in Greek
> borrowings (eg /psikOloZi:/). How is "xylophone" pronounced in French?
>
>
/ɡziloˈfon/, with voiced /gz/, as is usual with initial <x>.

In French, <x> can represent:
- /ks/ in front of a consonant, and sometimes at the end of a word
("phoenix"),
- /gz/ word-initially and between vowels (but there are a few exceptions),
- /s/ in the words "dix": ten and "six": six (and in some pronunciations of
"Bruxelles"),
- /z/ in the words "dixième": tenth and "sixième": sixth,
- silent (with a /z/ in liaison) at the end of many words, especially when
it marks a plural (mostly for nouns endings in -au, -eu, -ou, -eau).
-- 
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/