On the radio last night, and repeated again this morning, I heard Condi Rice saying that there are demands that the Iranians need to "assede" to. Her pronunciation makes me ashamed for my country, and ashamed that Stanford University had her as Provost for 6 years ! The news reports apparently didn't even notice, spelling the word she meant to use rather than what she actually said:
"There are demands on the table -- and the Iranians need to accede to those demands," she said
"But there are demands on the table and the Iranians need to accede to those demands."
In English, the letter C is usually soft (pronounced like S) when it's followed by E, I, or Y, and it's hard (pronounced like K) when followed by A, O, or a consonant. The first C in the word "accede" is followed by the second C, which is a consonant, so the first C is hard. Double C should be pronounced like "kk" or like "ks"; that's just how English handles the words it borrows from Latin. Anything else is just ignorance, illiteracy, and thoughtlessness.
The word "accede" has synonyms that are pronounced with an S sound. You can ascend to the throne, or you can assent to a decree, or you can accede to either one. In Condi's case, perhaps she's over-correcting. The pronunciation of "ask" as "aks" is one of the main characteristics of Ebonics dialects. Maybe she's avoiding the "aks" sound even in words where it's correct.
The word "flaccid" is one of my pet peeves (or eccentricities). Little kids teach it incorrectly to each other as a slightly naughty word. It's so commonly mispronounced that people don't even know how to spell it. The word "placid" is only slightly similar in form and in meaning. Remember the unhelpful mnemonic: In "flaccid" the first C is hard. In "tumescent" and "turgid" (as well as in "rigid"), every C or G is soft.
Doesn't anyone learn spelling rules these days? Every time I spell certain words, I still remember the rules I was taught. We spell "necessary" with one C, because we'd pronounce it like "nexus" if it had a double C. We spell "succeed" and "success" with a double C, because we pronounce both sounds.