How do you pronounce "psycho"?

There is this movie “Insomnia” with Al Pacino and Robin Williams. At the beginning when the two L.A. cops arrive in Alaska there are talking to the local policeman who is in charge of the investigation. At some point he says: “This isn’t a random psycho? Crime of passion?”

Now, it seems that this man pronounces the “P” in “psycho”. Do you too?


TOEIC listening, photographs: The bund Shanghai[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten,

I would certainly want the ‘p’ to be silent. Maybe this sounding of the ‘p’ is some kind of jokey practice.


Hi Alan,

Many thanks for your quick response, you are probably right about pronouncing the “p” to make it sound funny. By the way, later in the same movie Al Pacino pronounces “inquiry” quite strangely stressing the first syllable and treating the second one like a schwa. Are there are two accepted ways of pronouncing that word similar to “advertisement”?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Motorboats[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten,

Stress on the first syllable and the ‘swallowed’ second part is the American way of saying it - they tell me there are differences, ho, ho.


Just curious to know how it is that you think you know what “the” American pronunciation of inquiry is. Does this expert comment reflect extensive, first-hand experience in the US?

hehe, hoho

Hi Torsten

I don’t know anyone in the US who would seriously pronounce the ‘p’ in a word like ‘psycho’ except for non-native speakers of English.

At least I can agree with Alan’s post about the fact that it might be intentionally pronounced that way as a joke.


Maybe he was saying it deliberately to make it sound like pissed-sycho, to be funny.


It might just have been the result of pronouncing an ‘s’ after an ‘m’. Especially if the guy had a nasal voice or simply a cold!

There are actually three pronunciations of the word ‘inquiry’ used in the US, Torsten. When I think about the way people tend to pronounce things in the deep South, the number of pronunciation variations for ‘inquiry’ may be even more than three. The pronunciation I’ve used since childhood is with stress on the schwa-less the second syllable. I know lots of people who pronounce it the same way, but I have also heard two other pronunciations in the US. One of those was apparently what you heard Al Pacino say.

If the order of the varying pronunciations of ‘inquiry’ (as listed in American dictionaries) is any indication, the pronunciation I use may well be the most common one here.