Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 23 22:36:32 UTC 2013

 From the more Russian perspective, most North-Caucasian names are
spelled as "dz" (e.g., a soccer player "Dzagoev"). But occasional "dzh"
does appear (two letters, of course--i.g., a 1980s cosmo/astronaut was
named "Dzhanibekov"; it turned out that was not his real name, as my
father recognized him from AF days as a fresh recruit by the name of
"Krysin", i.e., "rat-guy"). In any case, I have no idea how the name was
spelled with the Cyrillic script, other than to say that passport
officials are pretty good at transliteration but not so good at
recognizing the underlying name. So "Dzh" is probably what the passport
says. Furthermore, Russian has no [h], so any names that start out with
an [h] sound before being transcribed into Cyrillic script will be
changed to either "g" or "kh". I'm assuming that the initial consonant
is best approximated by "J" and the middle one by "h".

The kid himself started referring to himself as "Jahar". In the light of
what I wrote above, that seems just right (the vowel alteration is
pretty meaningless as it could be similar to Ashkenazi/Sephardic
distinction that is essentially just an question of dialectal accent

As for the older brother, the Russian pronunciation would be [tah-m at r
LAHN], with secondary initial stress.

Interesting point on the family name. The -ev suffixation corresponds to
Russification of North-Caucasian names--something that seems to have
happened mostly in Muslim regions and in Latvia (where names lost that
-s suffix that has since been reacquired, and women's names followed
Russian suffixation until 1993 or so, and some still do). The uncle's
name is "Tsarni", not "Tsarnaev". Despite the situation in Chechnya,
apparently only about 200 Chechens came to the US over the past two
decades, with most of them residing in the Boston area (with the uncle
in Maryland and two sisters in NYC as exceptions, oddly enough). Most
Chechen refugees ended up in Turkey (with many in Kurdistan) and some in
Afghanistan, for more or less nefarious reasons. The "fiercely
independent" description seems to be a code for "violently
nationalistic" or just plain "violent" (wife-beating is normal within
the subculture and Chechens are significantly overrepresented with the
Russian mob). These two, unfortunately, lived up to the stereotype.


On 4/23/2013 2:30 PM, W Brewer wrote:
> Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev
> Dumbing down Wikipedia's IPA, <Dzhokhar> reflects a Russian (approximating
> Chechen) pronunciation [joe-KHAR], <KH> being like German ach-laut;
> anglified [joe-HAR].
> Russified <Tsarnaev> [tsahr-NA-yeff] variously anglified: [zar-NA-yev],
> even heard an early [Sarnoff]. The patronymic <Anzorovich> identifies the
> alleged father, <Anzor>. Black hat Tamerlan [tammer-LANN] (no doubt yearned
> to live up to his namesake, Tamerlane 1336-1405, <When I rise from the
> dead, the world shall tremble!>)
> On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 1:03 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
>> Is "Joker" what they're using because an acquaintance from Dzhokhar
>> Tsarnaev's Cambridge schooldays said that was the nickname that had
>> been bestowed on him?
>> The New York Times (April 20) gives the pronunciation "joe-HARR",
>> which I've been hearing more and more.  (And "tsar-NAH-yev"; and for
>> his brother "tam-arr-lawn" --apparently unaccented).  Seems to me
>> "Joeharr" is just as easy for Anglos to pronounce -- but perhaps less
>> humorous or derogatory (or exalted, for a fan of Batman).
>> And I'm wondering about the "joe" sound.  Is that what corresponds to
>> the sound of the (transliterated, I assume) "Dzho"?  Or is it closer
>> to the French "jeux"?
>> Joel

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

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