I scream for eyes cream

Yesterday the topic in the textbook was money and shopping, and one of the questions was about what men and women (stereotypically) buy. One (male) student said that women buy cosmetics, such as make-up and (what sounded like) ‘ice cream’. I figured that he meant ‘eyes cream’.

There are two issues – turning ‘eye cream’ into ‘eyes cream’, and turning ‘eyes cream’ into ‘ice cream’. In English, cream for your eyes is ‘eye cream’, not ‘eyes cream’. ‘eyes’ has a /z/ at the end and if I had to say ‘eyes cream’, I would emphasise the /z/ and make a little break after it. However, it is very easy to devoice a final plural noun /z/, especially here because the next sound is the unvoiced /k/ of ‘cream’.

From ‘ice cream’, it’s just another small step to ‘I scream’, but that’s been done before. (That’s the first time I’ve actually heard that song.) (More information.)

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