Fiji zigaboo

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 30 14:01:41 UTC 2007

Boozhwah? Is y'all tom 'bout dih woid that I know as based upon
"bourgeois," but which is, however, pronounced, in its assimilated
form as "boojie"? But, seriously, folks, the pronunciation of foreign,
unassimilated terms can't always be predicted with any degree of
accuracy. Y'all know dat.


On 3/30/07, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Fiji zigaboo
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> Using a primitive technology available here in my office, I just listened to a phonograph record that I happen to own, titled simple "Leadbelly" (Everest Records: Archive of Folk Music FS-202), which I acquired c1970; the album is proudly said to be "electronically stereotized." Anyhow, in "The Bourgeois Blues" (the first track) Ledbetter is clearly saying "-zhwa" for the second syllable; the first sounds like [bU-] to me, but I'm not certain. Definitely non-rhotic.
> Legend has it that Ledbetter wrote the song after being cornered in New York City by some leftists "agitators" who endeavored to recruit the singer (echoes of Ellison's _Invisible Man_). So quite possibly Ledbetter was imitating a pronunciation not quite natural for him, an affricate-American.
> --Charlie
> _________________________________________________________
> ---- Original message ----
> >Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 23:21:13 -0400
> >From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> >Subject: Re: Fiji zigaboo
> >
> >At 10:32 PM -0400 3/29/07, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >>FWIW, "zh," for all practical purposes, is non-occurrent in BE: French "Jeanne," the name of a friend of mine, is non-distinct from "John"; "(Missouri) hoosier" > "hoojie"; "garage  rouge" > "garaj  rooj," etc. All this and more is alive and kicking in the speech of your humble correspondent, irrespective of the register that he may be using.
> >>
> >>-Wilson
> >
> >Is that true generally, or does it depend on the lexical item?  I just checked Taj Mahal's version of Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues" on my iTunes, and it's definitely ['bu zhwa] each time (and there are many such).  I seem to recall Leadbelly's original also has it as "boo-zhwa", sans affrication (and sans rhotic).
> >
> >LH
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