How is the expression `sotto voce' pronounced?
(L. Balaji, Chennai)
The first `o' in `sotto' is like the `o' in `hot', `got', and `pot'; the second is like the `o' in `go', `so', and `no'. The `o' in `voce' is pronounced like the second `o' in `sotto'. The `c' that follows is like the `sh' in `sheep', `should', and `ship'; the final `e' is like the `i' in `bit', `pit', and `hit'. The main stress is on the first syllable of `voce'. The word comes from Italian; `sotto' means `under' and `voce' means `voice'. When you say something `sotto voce', you say it in a soft voice. Whatever you say is spoken in a low volume; you speak softly out of the corner of your mouth, so that you are not overheard by anyone. The word is considered literary, and is mostly used in formal contexts.
* During the principal's speech, several students made snide remarks sotto voce.
"She was what we used to call a suicide blonde dyed by her own hand." Saul Bellow
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