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Hard or soft Brexit?

March 15, 2017

Has anyone else noticed that there are two rival schools of thought when it comes to pronouncing Brexit? Some say it with a hard consonant cluster in the middle (with voiced consonants, to get technical): Breggzit. Other say it with a soft (or unvoiced) sound: Brecksit. Which is right? On the basis that I’d normally pronounce exit as eggzit rather than ecksit, I go for Breggzit. But I also have a hypothesis that offers a different explanation. My hypothesis is that those who are not altogether happy with the fact of Brexit – which would include me – are more likely to use the harder sound, Breggzit; while those who think it’s a good idea say the softer Brecksit. Does anyone have any evidence either for or against this hypothesis?

P.S. May I bring to your attention my comic fantasy YA novel The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers – here is the link: https://unbound.com/books/adam-gowers . Go there and you will see a neat little 2-minute video of me explaining why the time for this novel has come! And if you support it you will get your name in the back and an invitation to the launch party.

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4 Comments
  1. Cherylene permalink

    I too have noticed this. I have no idea if it reflects the political opinion of the speaker more that it further condenses the alphabet. Us is often pronounced uz even by those we would describe as well spoken. The z replaces the s in many other words. Dizgruntled etc. It also seems the g and x are intermingling and the x will be dropped in time.

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    There may never be any concensus on this like yog-hurt & yo-gurt. Hollywood seems to foster different pronunciations (Bet Davies, Betty Davis, Carry Grant, Carey Grant, Demmi Moore, DeMee Moore) but I would nominate Kim Basinger with four (Bay-singer, Bay-Sinja, Bass-Singer, Bass-Sinja) as a likely winner. Odd that people whose names are so well publicised should be pronounced differently.

  3. Tim Crannigan permalink

    I’m intrigued by your description : if asked which was the harder sound, I would have said ‘brecksit’ with ‘breggzit’ being softer, but I am not sure why (possibly the former version causes a ‘stop’ in the pronunciation whereas the latter flows from beginning to end). Although now I suspect I am wrong!

    @Cherylene : I agree the soft (or is it?) ‘s’ is becoming pervasive, although I don’t think I have ever heard anyone says ‘uss’ instead of ‘uz’ so the rot started there!

    • Cherylene permalink

      Tune your ear to the zz sound Tim. Once you take notice you will be amazed who uses the uz instead of us. Radio four Jenny murray certainly does but many bbc news readers are also converts.

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