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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 22 18:39:39 UTC 2008

At 10:20 AM -0800 1/22/08, Brenda Lester wrote:
>shouldn't it be J pronouced like ZH??

That's what we've been using [Z] to indicate in this thread and
others, a voiced alveo-palatal fricative as in "rouge" or "pleasure".
[J] is the affricate, as in "judge".  Somewhere there's a list of
these notations within ascii-netic transcription.


>Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
>   ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: Charles Doyle
>Subject: Re: English words beginning with pronounced [Z]?
>A while back, didn't we discuss a word pronounced [ZUZ], a noun
>referring to a quick shake given to something? I have no idea how
>the word might be spelled!
>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 13:19:07 -0500
>>From: Dennis Preston
>>In LIN 101 we teach students that /Z/ (the second sound in 'azure'
>>the last sound in 'garage') is a silly sound (like ng) which can
>>occur internally and finally but never initially. In final position
>>it is giving way to /dZ/, and here in good-talking and linguistically
>>secure Michigan, people surveyed were not sensitive to the final /dZ/
>>pronunciation as nonstandard.
>>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>Poster: Nadia Gabriel
>>>Subject: English words beginning with pronounced [Z]?
>>>Dear all,
>>>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 but that are pronounced without the [d]
>>>sound, just the [Z] sound?
>>>Or, to put it another way, words where the initial is pronounced as in
>>>I can't think of any!
>>>An advanced search in the OED Online ("Entries containing Z
>>>in Pronunciations") retrieves only one word: jinricksha, jinrikisha,
>>>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)
>>>Thank you,
>>>  Nadia Gabriel
>>>  Librarian & Translator
>>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>Dennis R. Preston
>>University Distinguished Professor
>>Department of English
>>Morrill Hall 15-C
>>Michigan State University
>>East Lansing, MI 48864 USA
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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