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“Third, fourth, fifth, sikth, seventh...”

(68 Posts)
TalkinAboutManetManet Sun 30-Jun-19 18:28:52

I’m a native English speaker, but not from the UK. I listen to a lot of British podcasts and radio programme, and the pronunciation of “sixth” without the “x” sound seems to be very common.

To me, it sounds very grating as I can hear it immediately. Like the wag some people say “axe” for “ask”.

Can anyone shed any light as to why it’s commonplace in the UK? Is it taught there? Is it considered correct?

If you say “sikth” and then “sixth”, can you hear the difference?

MotherForkinShirtBalls Sun 30-Jun-19 18:35:11

I'd love to know too. It sounds alien to my ear and I'd be interested to see the answers to your questions.

DramaAlpaca Sun 30-Jun-19 18:37:53

I'm from the UK so a native English speaker & I notice this too & find it annoying. I don't think it's taught or considered correct. It might be regional dialect, I don't know, but to me it's sloppy English & it's wrong.

I've said this before on here, but I was watching a TV documentary about King George VI some time ago. I ended up turning it off because the narrator (the actor Laurence Fox) said sikth every time instead of sixth, and I couldn't bear listening to it.

LittleWalnutTree Sun 30-Jun-19 18:38:14

Oh yes, I can hear the difference all right grin

Sixth with the 'x' is tthe correct version, but perhaps some people can't get their tongues round it and say sick-th.

Also, we have a large number of regional accents and dialects, and things are pronounced differently depending on where you come from, so that may be it too.

Redcrayons Sun 30-Jun-19 18:38:24

Is it regional? I'm in the NW and axe/ask sound very different.
I've never heard sixth pronounced sikth.

DoYouRememberTheInnMiranda Sun 30-Jun-19 18:38:57

I'd say sikth. Native speaker, generally speak pretty RP. Never considered it to be honest. I can say sixth (and hear the difference) but it sounds sort of over precise to my ears, like it's a really unnecessary tongue twister! No idea why I think that though, and am quite prepared to be proved "wrong" on this one (if anyone could conclusively adjudicate!)

CircleofWillis Sun 30-Jun-19 18:43:36

I'm pretty RP too. Southern educated and went to grammar and have a bundle of degrees from various Russell group universities and have always said 'sikth'. It has frankly never occurred to me to pronounce it in any other manner.

lazylinguist Sun 30-Jun-19 18:45:05

I'm a fairly RP English speaker and am also a linguist and pretty used to getting my tongue around tricky bits of pronunciation in a few languages. I'm not a fan of sloppy pronunciatio, but compared with the many other things Brits often pronounce 'lazily', the word 'sixth' is actually pretty difficult to say. I'm not at all surprised or bothered that people say 'sikth' tbh.

BelindasGleeTeam Sun 30-Jun-19 18:47:23

It's like Pacific when they mean specific.

Both grind my gears.

ShowOfHands Sun 30-Jun-19 18:51:15

I have an rp ish accent, am a linguist to postgraduate level and a pedant. I struggle to say sixth and do pronounce it nearer to sikth. I know it's annoying but I cannot help it.

TalkinAboutManetManet Sun 30-Jun-19 18:51:52

the word 'sixth' is actually pretty difficult to say

Is it, though? It’s literally “six-th”.

DramaAlpaca Sun 30-Jun-19 18:52:16

I'm from the north west, went to grammar school & a Russell group university, have a middle class accent that isn't RP & manage to say sixth perfectly easily. It's got nothing to do with education.

Babdoc Sun 30-Jun-19 19:02:08

There are a lot of regional variations, OP. Cockneys pronounce th as f - hence “forty fousand fevvers on a frush” instead of “forty thousand feathers on a thrush”. They also frequently replace the letter t with a glottal stop - “Ge’ kno’id” instead of “Get knotted”.
And southerners generally seem to struggle with the letter r. It annoys the Scots and Irish to hear southern English newsreaders refer to “Northern Island”, when they mean Northern Ireland, or “ion” when they mean “iron”.
All part of life’s rich tapestry, I suppose!

Haworthia Sun 30-Jun-19 19:04:41

I literally cannot get my head around what you’re saying grin

I say “sikth”. Cannot say “six-th”. Impossible. Unless I insert a big pause in the middle, which is ludicrous, obviously!

funmummy48 Sun 30-Jun-19 19:06:58

I say sixth & have never heard anyone say Sikh! I’ve just checked with all the family who are hear at the moment & they all pronounce it sixth. It must be regional?

WantLifeToBeBetter Sun 30-Jun-19 19:07:29

I'm southern, middle class, university blah blah and I have no idea what you're talking about grin - they both sound exactly the same to me confused

WantLifeToBeBetter Sun 30-Jun-19 19:08:54

It's definitely nothing like Pacific/specific

DisputedChair Sun 30-Jun-19 19:09:18

The English people I know who say ‘sikth’ are all RP speakers. The only Irish person I know who says it is very middle class Armagh.

shedid Sun 30-Jun-19 19:10:31

Anyone else in their living room saying "six-th....Sikth" over and over again...?

Twilter Sun 30-Jun-19 19:11:04

I'm in Scotland and everybody says six-th properly except for me and when I say it it sounds very unnatural. I can only pronounce it as two separate words. Six th. I have very poor diction.

ememem84 Sun 30-Jun-19 19:11:26

Dh says “fift” for fifth. Drives me mad.

WantLifeToBeBetter Sun 30-Jun-19 19:13:34

shedid yes! I just asked my dad and he pointed out that there's an extra 's' in the middle of sixth as opposed to sickth. That helped my understanding but I still can't figure out what I would say naturally..

BroomstickOfLove Sun 30-Jun-19 19:13:53

I also have a fairly RP accent and say sikth. I tend to think of"sixth" as quite an old-fashioned pronunciation, like "syoot" for suit.

Natsku Sun 30-Jun-19 19:14:24

Anyone else in their living room saying "six-th....Sikth" over and over again...?

Yes and six-th sounds so wrong! I can't say the th sound so it sounds even more wrong.

heymammy Sun 30-Jun-19 19:16:54

Most English people I know say "sikth" and "fith" to be honest. I can't feel how saying sixth and fifth is hard but it clearly is for some regional English accents.

I'm Scottish btw and it just seems we will always be amazed at how differently we each pronounce things!

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