1

The Word Reference dictionary and Wiktionary say that the correct pronunciation of the verb "excuser" is [ɛkskyze] with a open E at the beginning (as in hiEr), but I hear a closed E (/e/) in the beginning of the word in the available audios in the two webpages. Am I listening right?

4

Excuser can have several pronunciations:

  • The careful/formal one is /ɛkskyze/.

  • Due to the difficulty of the sequence /ksk/, a more common pronunciation is dropping the first /k/ leading to /ɛskyze/.

  • The first vowel might also be partially or totally dropped in relaxed French, especially in conjugated forms like excusez-moi, leading to /skuze mwa/.

Using /e/ like in the first linked page (/ekskyze/) doesn't prevent understanding and would likely be unnoticed by most native speakers.

3

I also hear an [e] on the French recording on the Word Reference dictionary. To my hears, it sounds quite artificial and not representative of the common pronunciation with [ɛ]. Note that on the Canadian audio, you can clearly hear an [ɛ].

On the Wiktionary entry, on the contrary, I hear a clear [ɛ]. It is a pity that the audio is for s'excuser and not excuser alone.

  • Thanks for the answer! The Wiktionary webpage uses [ɛ] indeed, I think that yesterday my ear somehow got influenced by listening to the WR French audio several times. – Alan Evangelista Sep 27 at 9:55
  • As jiliagre said, in any case, the pronunciation with [e] would anyway be barely noticed and there is no chance of a confusion with another word. – Greg Sep 27 at 10:16

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