James Landau jjjrlandau at EARTHLINK.NET
Sun Feb 12 19:09:55 UTC 2006

The closest thing to a canonical pronunciation (unless Edgar Rice Burroughs
showed it rhyming with something in the books) would be whatever was used
in the various Tarzan movies.

I have always heard "Tarzan" with a short a, primary stress on the first
syllable, and what I suppose should be called secondary stress on the
second syllable, that is, the two syllables are pronounced with near-equal
stress, unlike most two-syllable English words such as "napkin" in which
the unstressed syllable is so unstressed that the rule in English about the
vowel of an unstressed syllable becoming a schwa applies.

OT:  in the books Tarzan learned French before he learned English, and in
fact met Jane before he learned English, so he must have said "Moi, je suis
Tarzan, et vous, vous etes Jane".

    - James A. Landau

Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2005 17:19:27 -0500
From: Janis Vizier Nihart <tarheel at MOBILETEL.COM>
Subject: Tarzan

What is the correct pronunciation of Tarzan. Does the second "a" have a
short A sound or a short U (schwa)sound? Why are there 2 pronunciations?
I mentioned the name in class one day and the children found it funny that I
pronounce it with short U.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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