English words beginning with <j> pronounced [Z]?

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Jan 21 19:24:13 UTC 2008

I was surprised to learn that people use the "zh" pronunciation for
"jinrikisha", but sure enough, Merriam-Webster uses that pronunciation:


I think you've found the only word. I think the historical explanation
is that the "zh" sound entered English from French after the Norman
Invasion, but was changed to "j" at the beginning of all words.

BTW, Your Dictionary (http://www.yourdictionary.com/jinrikisha) has the
pronunciation spelled as a "j", which is my pronunciation, though I
can't hear the audio for some reason, so I'm not sure how they intend
the pronunciation to be.

Benjamin Barrett
a cyberbreath for language life

Nadia Gabriel wrote:
> A question out of a friend's curious brain - he is French, currently taking
> lessons to improve his English:
> Do you know of words, common word or proper names, in the English language
> that begin with the letter <j> but that are pronounced without the [d]
> sound, just the [Z] sound?
> Or, to put it another way, words where the initial <j> is pronounced as in
> French?
> I can't think of any!
> An advanced search in the OED Online ("Entries containing Z
> in Pronunciations") retrieves only one word: jinricksha, jinrikisha,
> *n.*<http://dictionary.oed.com.proxycu.wrlc.org/cgi/entry/50123824?query_type=advsearch&queryword=Z&first=1&max_to_show=10&search_spec=pron%3Aph&order=ab&return_set=entries&sort_type=alpha&result_place=6&control_no=50123824&search_id=xncX-q3erq2-7384&side=M>,
> from Japanese.
> I'd be grateful for any comments!
>  (I must add I didn't read all the article under the entry for the letter J,
> which also appeared in the results of my search - Wonderful OED)

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

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