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In some Ashkenazic dialects, lots of words in which the first syllable is accented and the vowel is segol are pronounced as though they had a tzeirei. Examples include "meylech," "tzeydek," and "peyrek."

But even those who pronounce words of this class with a segol (like me) still say "peysach." As far as I know, this is the only one where this is done. Why is this?

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See also mi.yodeya.com/questions/5991 –  msh210 Mar 27 '11 at 4:42
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

As you suggested, but because in Yiddish it is pronounced Pay-sach.

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Then that just begs the question: why is it that way in dialects of Yiddish where the same is not done (in those dialects) with words such as מלך? –  Alex Mar 27 '11 at 3:46
    
for ritual words, people are more likely to revert to Yiddish within e.g. English speech. just as in Yiddish, it is the more ritual words which stem from Hebrew/Aramaic, rather than German. when someone actually does say "melech", he is likely speaking Hebrew. perhaps even for Yiddish speakers, it went from (these dialects of Yiddish) into the standard lexicon. most people, i think, if you ask, believe there is a tzeirei there. –  josh waxman Mar 27 '11 at 11:11
    
@Alex, yet the name מלך is often pronounced with a tzere under the mem. –  msh210 Aug 25 '11 at 15:20
    
Pronounced and spelled. (Some say that the reason for this linguistic development was because of what Dave's answer suggests.) –  Adam Mosheh Jul 23 '12 at 2:21
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Maybe because "Pessach" sounds too much like פתח (doorway or opening)?

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According to those who pronounce a Sav like a Sav. –  Adam Mosheh Jul 23 '12 at 2:21
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