I learned in English class that you should change pronunciation, k to g, t to d and p to b, that is immediately after s in spoken English, like express -> exbress and skill -> sgill. I am using several dictionaries, in their real person pronunciations, I heard exbress and discount, not disgount. When do you change pronunciation and when not, is there a general rule? Similar words include roster, exchange, steam.

  • 1
    Native speakers certainly don't consciously do that. Maybe the advice is helpful to speakers of your language. It's not uncommon for language learners to find it difficult to pronounce certain combinations of sounds that don't occur in their native language. Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 8:52
  • 1
    I expect the "k->g" is describing the pinyin sound values of k and g, and not the English ones. Learners of Mandarin need to be aware that the sound represented by "k" or "g" in Chinese pinyin might not be the same as the sound in English.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 9:56
  • This question seems extremely similar to this one: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/337084/… I would listen to how native speakers actually speak, and not worry about silly "rules" about when you change sounds.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 13:16
  • @stangdon I'd call it a dupe, but I don't want to use my Mod hammer
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


It's true that the 'c' in 'disco' has the less harsh 'c' sound you are describing. I suppose it could sound like a 'g' to a non-native speaker.

However, 'discount' is the word 'count' with a prefix, and different emphasis may be put on each part of the word depending on whether it is being used as a verb (eg "do not discount the possibility') or as a noun (eg "I visited the discount store"). When used as a verb, you will find that more stress is put on the prefix, resulting in the 'c' sound also being pronounced more distinctly.

Similar words include disconcerting, discontinued, misconstrued etc.

  • When s is in a prefix, it will not change; when s is in the middle of a word, it will change. Right?
    – Chenxi
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 8:29
  • @Chenxi I suppose that could be a rule of thumb, but it might have exceptions. What I'm saying is that sometimes prefixes stand out because we want to emphasise both parts of the word. Even though 'discount' is very much one word, when we are using it as a verb it is the antonym of 'count' so we would want to make that clear. As I mentioned, this is not so much the case when using it as a noun.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 11:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .