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

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Jan 22 20:12:01 UTC 2008

FWIW, I generally say [ah zhu]. [oh zhu] only for sounding French. BB

Laurence Horn wrote:
> anyone who drinks [Zus], but one--in fact two--of the extant
> pronunciations of "au jus", [o Zu(s)], contain an initial (well, sort
> of initial) <j> pronounced as [Z].  This is confirmed by the AHD,
> which however gloss the term as an adverb meaning 'served with the
> natural juices or gravy', as in "roast beef au jus".  This would
> still render (heh heh) "au jus" a French term, but it's been
> reanalyzed in cafeteria English as a noun meaning something like
> 'thin gravy on the side':  Roast beef with au jus.  (Cf. "apple pie
> with alamode".)  In this case, it's an instance of our holy grail--an
> English word with a (sort of) initial <j> pronounced (sometimes) as
> [Z].  (No doubt "with au jus" also gets pronounced as [o Jus]
> although I would imagine [o Ju] might be avoided for reasons of
> homonymy, if not taboo, avoidance.)

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