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

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Jan 23 02:58:27 UTC 2008

On Jan 22, 2008 9:46 PM, Tom Zurinskas <truespel at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > On Jan 22, 2008 5:54 PM, Tom Zurinskas  wrote:
> >>
> >>> The five most common transcription systems are given here:
> >>> http://www.blahedo.org/ascii-ipa.html
> >>
> >> Which of the five does the US Government use? I know the VOA uses none of these. I call their
> >> type of phonetic spelling VOAspel. No one has given me another name for it.
> >
> > Those are just IPA-to-ASCII transcription systems. VOA uses a phonetic
> > respelling that has nothing to do with IPA.
> >
> > If you're looking for a name, Larry Urdang likes to call this type of
> > phonetic respelling the Moo Goo Gai Pan System.
> >
> "Moo goo gie pan" is a poor choice for that name.  "Gai" would need be "guy" because the words are
> English based.  The letter string "ai" almost never represents the "eye" sound in English.

Needless to say, Larry Urdang's designation is facetious, poking fun
at the odd renderings that such phonetic respelling creates.

--Ben Zimmer

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

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