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Letter x is really two sounds

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To the editor:

OK, this might not be as provocative as everyone else’s opinions for Alek/Alex, but here’s the real reason.

It has to do with the phonemes (sounds, not letters) of our American speech. While we have 26 letters, we have at least 43 sounds (phonemes). People sometimes tend to shorten up things when speaking, e.g. “Fergus” instead of “Fergus Falls,” “Hutch” vs. “Hutchinson.”

That’s what we do with the name of our town. The letter “x” is really two sounds, first [k] + [s]. We shorten the “x” letter by producing only the first sound of the “x,” i.e. [k], but not the second sound [s]. So, Alexandria phonetically shortened sounds like “Alek,” saying just the first sound of the “x” letter. The International Phonetic Alphabet would show this clearly but few of us know those symbols, so let’s just say “Alex” would phonetically look more like “Aleks” and we just shorten it to “Alek” and skip the last sound [s] that is the second part of the “x” letter.

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