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

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Tue Jan 22 15:12:10 UTC 2008

From:    Nadia Gabriel <nadpaz3 at GMAIL.COM>


> 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?

My wife's first name is Jeanne [dZi.ni]. A small but noticeable number
of people we know pronounce her name [Zi.ni] at least part of the time.
No idea if it's a hyperforeignization (hyper*re*foreignization, maybe,
given that her name is ultimately but distantly French), but those I've
been able to do under-the-radar lexical elicitation with don't use the
[Z] in words like jail.

Well, i did run across one who talked about drinking juice [Zus], so
maybe there's a high-vowel thing going on? Pretty flimsy evidence to try
to make a generalization on, but it's all i've got.

These were all from the southern Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, DC, Virginia,
West Virginia), and FWIW they tended--and here i feel on more solid
ground, because i've collected a little data on this more rigorously--to
use [Z] rather than [dZ] in final contexts, not just in garage [g at .raZ],
but also in large [larZ].


David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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

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