/zh/ replacing /dzh/?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 24 14:26:32 UTC 2002

At 12:03 AM -0500 9/24/02, Herbert Stahlke wrote:
>I've noticed for some time that many of my students and a lot of
>newsreaders and sports announcers, local, cable, and network, are
>replacing certain cases of /dzh/ with /zh/.  I first noticed it with
>proper nouns like Beijing and Elijah, which are now regularly
>pronounced with palato-alveolar fricatives rather than affricates.
>This evening a newsreader on MSNBC did the same replacement with
>"siege".  That's the first case I've noticed in a word that wasn't a
>name and/or foreign sounding.
As you suggest in the last sentence, i think these are distinct
(although related) phenomena.  The /zh/ in Beijing and Zhao En Lai is
one of those hyper-foreignisms we discussed a few years back, where
/zh/, being French, is a good candidate to appear in foreign names.
(I haven't heard it in "Elijah", but I assume that's another example
of the process.  "Siege" wouldn't be the same, but maybe it's being
assimilated to "beige", "rouge", "liege", etc.?  In that respect, it
could even count as a spelling pronunciation, which is certainly not
the case for "Beijing" or "Elijah".


More information about the Ads-l mailing list