How to pronounce ‘X’ correctly in English?

Are you confused with the pronunciation of letter X in English? The letter X take 04 different sounds in English. Students often make mistakes while pronouncing the letter X correctly as their native language does not have a sound for X. This mostly happens with Chinese, Japnese and Korean students. In this free accent training lesson with your English teacher Ceema, you will learn how to pronounce X correctly and improve your English pronunciation.

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Complete Lesson Transcript – 

Hi this is Ceema, welcome back to another lesson on pronouncing the alphabet, X correctly. Now a lot of English learners have a very similar and a very common problem of using or pronouncing the word with x correctly. In fact amongst pretty much all the alphabets in the English language, pronouncing X becomes a bit of a challenge. I’ll tell you why, because there are several ways of pronouncing this one alphabet but I’m gonna make it very simple for  you. I’m gonna show you different ways of how to say this alphabet depending on which word you are going to use it with. So stay tuned and pay attention to when you are going to use the alphabet x in what ways while pronouncing it.

Now the most common way of pronouncing X is with khs sound. Okay, so it’s a khs, khs, khs, sound. Not exactly a khas sound but it’s a khs sound. But there are 4 things, you need to remember in order to draw out the khs sound when you are using the alphabet X. so there are 4 conditions to use the lhs sound. You can use either of these conditions in order to get this sound in a word. The first condition is that the X will be followed by a consonant sound, okay. So the X will be followed by a consonant sound. So all other sounds apart from a, e, i, o, u are consonant sounds. Let’s have a look at the word, next. The x is followed by the T which is a consonant and a consonant sound. So you will say, next. The x would have a khs, next because the X is followed by the consonant sound, okay. The second thing, you need to remember, in order to have the X giving you the khs sound is when X is used at the end of a word. So, let’s look at a word like, relax. The X is at the end of the word and therefore, the X gives me the khs sound. Okay, let’s do this once again. The first thing you have to remember is that the X, for it to give you a khs sound should be followed by the consonant sound. In this case, we have an example, next because the T is a consonant. The second condition is that the x has to be at the end of the word to give you the khs sound like relax, okay. The third condition or the third way that you can draw out the khs sound, when using the word or the alphabet, x is when you have X followed by the vowel sound. However, in this case, the syllable after X is not the stronger one. So the syllable after X is the weaker one. Okay, so for example, we have taxi. The X is followed by the vowel sound because i or the e sound, is a vowel sound. However, you are using, the khs sound because the syllable after the X is the weaker one. So before the X, you have ta which is a stronger syllable but after the X, you have an e, which is a smaller syllable. So you use, the X to be a khs sound, when the X is followed by a vowel sound. However, the syllable after that X has to be the weaker one like taxi, khs sound and the fourth condition which I haven’t mentioned on the board is when you are using a prefix. So for example, you have words like ex-wife or ex- employee. A prefix always is followed by a hyphen. So when you use prefixes like my ex- boyfriend or your ex-wife or I’m an ex- employee, that’s when you will again use the x with the khs sound, okay. So I hope you’ve got this part clear and very simple to understand for you. But now because I said that X can be used in several ways, the X has another sound, it does make in some words which is the ghz sound. so this was the khs sound and this is the h sound, okay. let’s see, how and which words are those which give you the ghz sound. again, there are 2 conditions. the first condition is that, the X to give you the ghz sound has to be followed by a vowel sound with no underlying conditions, okay. so X followed by the vowel sound will give you the ghz sound in a word. so, you have an executive, you don’t say an executive. you say an executive. a lot of English learners, say executive which is wrong, it’s executive. okay, so we have the X followed by the vowel sound which is the eh sound. so therefore you say, executive. okay so executive.

so the other instance, when X will give you the ghz sound is when, you have X followed by a stronger syllable. for example, you have the word X, in this word, the alphabet X in this word which is followed by the stronger syllable, that’s why you will example. the ghz sound, eghz, example because ample is the stronger syllable, the syllable which is stressed as opposed to eh before the x, which is the weaker one. and so, when you have the ex which is followed by the stronger syllable, or if you have the x which is followed by a vowel sound, that’s when you will always get the ghz sound. so you have words like, executive and example. okay, that’s how you will use the ghz sound in an ex. but what about another way of using the same alphabet. well this very common, in fact it’s not very common because, these words are not used so much but the x can also give you a  sound. but the only condition for it to give you a z sound is, if the x is used as the first word. so whenever X is the first alphabet in your word, that’s when you get, the z sound. so you have a word like Xerox, x is at the beginning of the word. so it has a z sound, it won’t have a khs or a ghz sound because it’s in the beginning. so it’s got a Xerox. a word like this which is a name of a person really, it’s a Xavier with a z sound. you can’t have a khs or a ghz sound because the x is coming as the first alphabet in this word, okay.

now an x also creates two other special sounds. I call it special because there are very, very few words in the English language which make the sound, okay. it is the khsh and the ghsz, okay the khsh and the ghsz. but these sounds, come in an x only if the X is followed with a U. so words like, sexual, the khsh. it’s not a sexual, it’s not a sexual or a zesual, it’s a sexual, a khsh sound because the X in this word is followed by a u. so it gives you a special sound which says, sexual. the khsh sound also if the X in some cases is followed by the U, can also give you the ghsz sound. for example, luxury. It’s not a lusury, it’s not a khsh sound, it’s the ghsz sound, luxury, okay.

so these are the different ways that you will pronounce the letter, X. I’m sure if you keep practising and if you  really ponder over the different ways, you can say the word, x, your pronunciation is going to be really good. so I’ll be back with some lessons, until then, this is me saying, keep practising.

1 comment

  • Hello CEEMA!
    I’ve been following your lessons since june’17 ,I want some clarification in [Differntiate b/w “HAVING” &”GETTING”] AND [“DO” &”MAKE”]
    i hope soon u’ll consider my request

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