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prosciutto (n.) Italian spiced ham, 1911, from Italian,
alteration (probably by influence of prosciugato "dried") of presciutto,
from pre-, here an intensive prefix, + -sciutto,
from Latin exsuctus "lacking juice, dried up," past participle of exsugere "suck out, draw out moisture,"
from ex- "out" (see ex-) + sugere "to suck" (see sup (v.2)).

  1. The above implies Italian's neglect or omission of the Latin prefix ex-. Am I right?

  2. Why was pre- conserved? What exactly did pre- intensify? Why did ex- not suffice?

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  • "pre-conserved": romance languages didn't just born overnight, they all took several centuries to form and they're, of course, still evolving; it may well be also that the prefix has been slowly dropped over time for usage reasons.
    – kos
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 15:42
  • @Charo Grazie! Alas, I know too little Italian.
    – user1708
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 23:34
  • Italian pronunciation of 'proscuitto' : vocabolaudio.com/it/prosciutto
    – user1708
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 23:35
  • 1
    @LePressentiment, that colon after the /u/ is wrong. I checked a few examples (formaggio, mozzarella, pancetta) and it seems that vocabolaudio.com got it wrong all over the place Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 10:39
  • @WalterTross +1. Thanks; I will retain my comment above for others' knowledge.
    – user1708
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 2:10

1 Answer 1

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  1. No. The prefix ex- is not vanished: it has turned the alveolar sound [s] into a postalveolar one, [ʃ]. Otherwise, we'd have something like *“prosutto”.

  2. and 3. By the above, there is no disappearance to explain. Moreover, “laziness” and “irrationality”, per se, are not very scientific or useful concepts, are they? Either we limit ourselves to some precise question (the decreased emission of breath when emitting a given phoneme, say), or we are talking about nothing.

1
  • +1. Thanks. I revised my OP. Better? Also, will you please answer my updated question 2 above?
    – user1708
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 15:33

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