Letter Xx

Xx is a somewhat special letter in written English because it does not represent its own unique phoneme. In fact, it often serves to represent more than one phoneme in a word. For this reason, instructors may devote time in an introductory cued English class to covering how words with Xx are cued.

Common Pronunciation

The most common pronunciation for the letter x is a combinations of /kkk/ and /sss/ as in Texasmixflaxsix. Another common pronunciation is the combination of /ggg/ and /zzz/ as in example and exist. Some words may may be pronounced with either combination. For example, exit may be pronounced with /ks/ or /gz/. Which combination is used may be a function of one’s dialect or the part of speech. For some cuers, one combination may be used for the noun and the other for a verb:

  • Noun: The exit is at the end of the hall.
  • Verb: We should exit the building immediately.

Notice that the addition of either /sss/ or /zzz/ to the preceding consonant follows the same voicing rule that occurs with addition of plural -s. Voiceless /kkk/ takes voiceless /sss/. The voiced consonant /ggg/ takes the voiced consonant /zzz/. So, while a word may be pronounced with either /ks/ or /gz/, it is unlikely to mix those combinations. In other words,  */kz/ or */gs/ are unlikely pronunciations for native English users.

Additional Pronunciations

The letter Xx has several other possible pronunciations. At the beginning or words, it may be pronounced as /zzz/. The following table provides a few of the less common pronunciations of this tricky letter.

Pronunciation Examples
/zzz/ anxietyxenophobiaxylophone
/ʃshsh/ anxious
/kkkʃshsh/ anxious, noxious, sexual, complexion
/ɪĭigggzzz/ Xavier
/gggʒzhzh/ luxury, luxurious
/hhh/ Mexico
(silent) faux

Practice

ax, axis, box, deluxe, exact, exhaust, fax, fix, flex, foxMexico, mixer, oxygen, pox, sexy, taxes, toxic, toxin, wax.

See Also

Texas

  • /tɛˈksɪs/
  • /tehˈksis/
  • /těˈksĭs/
  • 5c2s3t3s

mix

  • /mɪˈks/
  • /miˈks/
  • /mĭˈks/
  • 5t2s3s

flax

  • /flæˈks/
  • /flaˈks/
  • /flăˈks/
  • 5s6t2s3s

six

  • /sɪˈks/
  • /siˈks/
  • /sĭˈks/
  • 3t2s3s

example

  • /ɪgzæˈmpəl/
  • /igzaˈmpəl/
  • /ĭgzăˈmpəl/
  • 5t7s2t5s1sd6s

exist

  • /ɪgzɪˈst/
  • /igziˈst/
  • /ĭgzĭˈst/
  • 5t7s2t3s5s

exit

  • /ɛˈksɪt/
  • /ehˈksit/
  • /ěˈksĭt/
  • 5c2s3t5s

exit

  • /ɛˈgzɪt/
  • /ehˈgzit/
  • /ěˈgzĭt/
  • 5c7s2t5s

exit

  • /ɛˈksɪt/
  • /ehˈksit/
  • /ěˈksĭt/
  • 5c2s3t5s

exit

  • /ɛˈgzɪt/
  • /ehˈgzit/
  • /ěˈgzĭt/
  • 5c7s2t5s

anxiety

  • /æŋzɑɪˈəti/
  • /angzieˈətee/
  • /ăngzīˈətē/
  • 5t8s2s5t5sd5m

xenophobia

  • /zɛˌnəfoʊˈbiə/
  • /zehˌnəfohˈbeeə/
  • /zěˌnəfōˈbēə/
  • 2c4sd5sf4m5sd

xylophone

  • /zɑɪˈləfoʊˌn/
  • /zieˈləfohˌn/
  • /zīˈləfōˌn/
  • 2s5t6sd5sf4s

anxious

  • /æˈŋʃəs/
  • /aˈngshəs/
  • /ăˈngshəs/
  • 5t8s6sd3s

anxious

  • /æˈŋkʃəs/
  • /aˈngkshəs/
  • /ăˈngkshəs/
  • 5t8s2s6sd3s

noxious

  • /nɑˈkʃəs/
  • /nahˈkshəs/
  • /näˈkshəs/
  • 4sf2s6sd3s

sexual

  • /sɛˈkʃuəl/
  • /sehˈkshueəl/
  • /sěˈksho͞oəl/
  • 3c2s6c5sd6s

complexion

  • /kəmplɛˈkʃən/
  • /kəmplehˈkshən/
  • /kəmplěˈkshən/
  • 2sd5s1s6c2s6sd4s

Xavier

  • /ɪgzeɪˈvjɚ/
  • /igzayˈvyur/
  • /ĭgzāˈvyûr/
  • 5t7s2c5t2s8m

luxury

  • /lʌˈgʒɚi/
  • /luhˈgzhuree/
  • /lŭˈgzhûrē/
  • 6sd7s1m5m

luxurious

  • /ləgʒɚˈiəs/
  • /ləgzhurˈeeəs/
  • /ləgzhûrˈēəs/
  • 6sd7s1m5m5sd3s

Mexico

  • /mɛˈhikoʊˌ/
  • /mehˈheekohˌ/
  • /měˈhēkōˌ/
  • 5c3m2sf

faux

  • /foʊˈ/
  • /fohˈ/
  • /fōˈ/
  • 5sf

ax

  • /æˈks/
  • /aˈks/
  • /ăˈks/
  • 5t2s3s

axis

  • /æˈksɪs/
  • /aˈksis/
  • /ăˈksĭs/
  • 5t2s3t3s

box

  • /bɑˈks/
  • /bahˈks/
  • /bäˈks/
  • 4sf2s3s

deluxe

  • /dəlʌˈks/
  • /dəluhˈks/
  • /dəlŭˈks/
  • 1sd6sd2s3s

exact

  • /ɪgzæˈkt/
  • /igzaˈkt/
  • /ĭgzăˈkt/
  • 5t7s2t2s5s

exhaust

  • /ɪgzɔˈst/
  • /igzawˈst/
  • /ĭgzôˈst/
  • 5t7s2c3s5s

fax

  • /fæˈks/
  • /faˈks/
  • /făˈks/
  • 5t2s3s

fix

  • /fɪˈks/
  • /fiˈks/
  • /fĭˈks/
  • 5t2s3s

flex

  • /flɛˈks/
  • /flehˈks/
  • /flěˈks/
  • 5s6c2s3s

fox

  • /fɑˈks/
  • /fahˈks/
  • /fäˈks/
  • 5sf2s3s

Mexico

  • /mɛˈksəkoʊˌ/
  • /mehˈksəkohˌ/
  • /měˈksəkōˌ/
  • 5c2s3sd2sf

mixer

  • /mɪˈksɚ/
  • /miˈksur/
  • /mĭˈksûr/
  • 5t2s3m

oxygen

  • /ɑˈksəʤɪn/
  • /ahˈksəjin/
  • /äˈksəjĭn/
  • 5sf2s3sd7t4s

pox

  • /pɑˈks/
  • /pahˈks/
  • /päˈks/
  • 1sf2s3s

sexy

  • /sɛˈksi/
  • /sehˈksee/
  • /sěˈksē/
  • 3c2s3m

taxes

  • /tæˈksɪz/
  • /taˈksiz/
  • /tăˈksĭz/
  • 5t2s3t2s

toxic

  • /tɑˈksɪk/
  • /tahˈksik/
  • /täˈksĭk/
  • 5sf2s3t2s

toxin

  • /tɑˈksɪn/
  • /tahˈksin/
  • /täˈksĭn/
  • 5sf2s3t4s

wax

  • /wæˈks/
  • /waˈks/
  • /wăˈks/
  • 6t2s3s