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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?

  • "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 Aug 16 '15 at 15:42
  • @Charo Grazie! Alas, I know too little Italian. – NNOX Apps Aug 17 '15 at 23:34
  • Italian pronunciation of 'proscuitto' : vocabolaudio.com/it/prosciutto – NNOX Apps Aug 17 '15 at 23:35
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    @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 – Walter Tross Aug 23 '15 at 10:39
  • @WalterTross +1. Thanks; I will retain my comment above for others' knowledge. – NNOX Apps Oct 2 '15 at 2:10
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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.

| improve this answer | |
  • +1. Thanks. I revised my OP. Better? Also, will you please answer my updated question 2 above? – NNOX Apps Oct 24 '15 at 15:33

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