ج - جيم pronunciation

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Qcumber

Senior Member
UK English
Tariq Ibn Ziyad, you wrote a good summary on the various pronunciations of the letter qaaf. Could you please do the same for the letter jiim? :)
 
  • MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    Qcumber,
    I will start a partial list and others can add to it.
    Most Maghrebi like the s in pleasure. Most Khaleeji like j in judge, some like y,some s in pleasure.Most Shami like s in pleasure some like j some y.Northern Masr g in go,south and some villages s in pleasure. Sudan Chad most s,some j. Adeni and some other parts of Yemen g in go.
    Fus7a= j, Ancient semitic g in go.
     

    Tariq_Ibn_zyad

    Senior Member
    French,arabic(moroccan,algerian)
    Tariq Ibn Ziyad, you wrote a good summary on the various pronunciations of the letter qaaf. Could you please do the same for the letter jiim? :)
    well..:) "Jiim"is a little bit more complicated than "qaf".even arabic linguist argued on this fact,but the correct pronounciation in fus7a should be "J"(the english j),but MSA tends to use "zh"(french j) in most countries.
    In dialects,my knowledge is much bigger concerning north africa than the middle east or the gulf so please correct me if i say something wrong.

    Jiim(english j):
    - is used in bedouin dialects:even sometimes instead of gaf(qaf) (examples: soug,plural:aswâj:markets ; kashûga,plural:khawashîj:spoons ; jiddâm:in front)
    -In most rural dialects,except in morocco and tunisia
    -In some cities such as baghdad and algiers(and central algeria)
    -in gulfic dialects(which are more or less bedouin)

    zhiim (french j)
    -in most urban dialects(except gulfic,central algerian,northern egyptian,yemeni,omani,and countries very influenced by bedouin)
    -in western and eastern algerian
    -in morocco and tunisia this is the only pronounciation(whith some exceptions)

    NB: in many dialects using "zh" some exceptions are made,for example after the article "al"(or "el""il"),speakers tend to pronounce "J"

    Giim:
    -In northern egyptian(cairo dialect)
    -In yemen
    -In oman there is a co-existence with "J"(example:some speakers prefer to say "wâjid" than "wâgid"=much)
    In Morocco,there are some words where letter "g" comes from "jîm" instead of "qaf"(which is generally the casa with "g" in moroccan dialect)
    examples:Gezzâr:butcher,gles:to sit
    the reason is that moroccan arabic doesn't like having Jiim(pronounced zhiim) with S,Sh or Z in the same word

    Yîm:

    I don't know very much about that one,i know that you can hear it in Gulfic dialects(example: wâyyid=much,instead of wâjid)

    Dîm:
    never heard about that one,can anybody think of an example? thanks!
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Dîm:
    never heard about that one,can anybody think of an example? thanks!
    See my post ;)

    I'll give a fantasy example :
    Such people say : ديت من دنب الديران deit men dan ed-deraan for جيت من جنب الجيران geit men ganb el-geraan (Cairo and bigger cities) or jeit men janb ej-jeraan (rural areas).
    (I came from beside the neighbors' )
     

    Tariq_Ibn_zyad

    Senior Member
    French,arabic(moroccan,algerian)
    that's interesting,it must sound funny..for me pronouncing "zh" even "gim" sound very strange to me when i hear egyptians,but "d",i look forward to hear someone speaking like that
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thanks a lot, MarcB, Cherine, and above all Tariq Ibn Zyad.
    As with qaaf, what strikes me is the contrast between the urban pronunciation and the rural one.

    I also found in the Encyclopedia of Islam that there are Beduin tribes and Eastern Arabs who pronounce it gyiim.
     

    mansio

    Senior Member
    France/Alsace
    I read somewhere that the "g" pronunciation of the letter "jiim" was the original pronunciation in archaic Arabic.
    Does anyone know about that?
     

    Tariq_Ibn_zyad

    Senior Member
    French,arabic(moroccan,algerian)
    I read the same thing.
    I think it comes from yemen where it is still pronounced like that,and the yemeni dialect(southern arabic) appears to be the one the most ancient.Nowadays linguists tend to say that yemeni dialect is the closest to classical arabic.

    In a linguistic point of view,this is quite logic that "gim" is more ancient than "jim":
    gim has been palatalised to jim than to zhim(which the the most recent pronounciation,it's no surprise that it's used mostly in cities)
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In Morocco,there are some words where letter "g" comes from "jîm" instead of "qaf"(which is generally the casa with "g" in moroccan dialect) examples:Gezzâr:butcher,gles:to sit
    the reason is that moroccan arabic doesn't like having Jiim(pronounced zhiim) with S,Sh or Z in the same word
    An arresting case of dissimilation.
     

    Tariq_Ibn_zyad

    Senior Member
    French,arabic(moroccan,algerian)
    it's very frequent in moroccan arabic.
    in the case I mentionned,J became G,but there are many other cases,letter shiin is also affected by this:
    zhuzh= two from zawj(pair)
    shemsh=sun from shams
    daaz(or gaaz in tangiers):he passed from jaaza
    dzayer=algeria from al jazaa'ir
    shedd=he closed from sadda(block)
    mzhowwezh=married from mutazawwij
    etc etc
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    Fus7a= j, Ancient semitic g in go.
    I mentioned that in post 2. cf. Syriac= gamal, Hebrew= gimel, Aramaic =gimel. Some tribes from Yemen(not all) and some who migrated to Egypt conserve this sound. As we can see the sound in spoken Arabic has changed from place to place. In fus7a it changed to j.
     

    mansio

    Senior Member
    France/Alsace
    I read the same thing.
    I think it comes from yemen where it is still pronounced like that,and the yemeni dialect(southern arabic) appears to be the one the most ancient.Nowadays linguists tend to say that yemeni dialect is the closest to classical arabic.

    In a linguistic point of view,this is quite logic that "gim" is more ancient than "jim":
    gim has been palatalised to jim than to zhim(which the the most recent pronounciation,it's no surprise that it's used mostly in cities)
    Thanks for your explanation.
    I noticed also that some linguists transliterate the "jiim" with a "g" topped by an inversed ^.
    That could illustrate the fact that they consider the "jiim" as being a derived pronunciation (through palatalization as you said) of the "g".
     

    Litewiz

    New Member
    UK, French
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    Hello all, this is my first post, and so first of all Id like to say assalamuailaykum to all.

    I have a problem, when reading the quran its common to read the letter Jeem with a hard J,

    example of 'hard J' (J) take the English word: JOKE, or JAM.
    'Soft J' (j) is for example the French name: Jacques.

    Now when reading text in Modern standard Arabic do I read the letter Jeem with a hard J? or a soft J "

    for example take the word Bijanib (beside), is it biJanib or bijanib?

    Jisr (bridge) is it jisr or Jisr?

    Hope you guys get my drift, all help appreciated!

    peaaace
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Welcome to the forums, Litewiz. :)

    Personally, I pronounce the letter ج exclusively with a "soft j" sound - but I've heard it pronounced the other way (which I think is less common).

    I think both are fine as long as you're consistent.
     

    Tajabone

    Senior Member
    French, Berber (Kabyle), Arabic (classical and dialectal)
    Salut Litewiz,

    I was discussing the two phonetic values of the letter Jim some hours ago with friends of mine :)

    In the center area of Algeria (Algiers for instance), we clearly use Jim in a strong way, like "Joke" in English.

    This is why we write "Djamal" instead of "Jamal" (or Djazaïr instead of Jazair)

    I saw Al-Jazeera yesterday and I noticed that some journalists and commentators where also using Jim in the strong way (nothing to do with the J of Jacques for instance).

    However, it makes strictly no semantic difference since it's only a geographic mark.

    Bye
     

    Nikola

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I have read that in classical Arabic the sound is/was like the hard sound of judge. However, in spoken Arabic the sound ranges from j=judge,s=pleasure,g=go,y=yes.MSA which is also fusHa uses the two sounds you have mentioned. You may wish to follow tajweed.
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    I read that the standard (MSA or Classical Arabic) way is the English J but many dialects use the French J and also pronounce the MSA that way.
     

    xebonyx

    Senior Member
    TR/AR/EN
    I've experienced speaking with a soft j and having it corrected, and when I changed them to hard j's, I would run into the same problem, haha. I think it was more accepted for me to say the hard J-- but maybe that's because it's expected from me naturally since that's the only type of J we use (in English)...??
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I read that the standard (MSA or Classical Arabic) way is the English J but many dialects use the French J and also pronounce the MSA that way.
    I have never heard that the "hard j" is the standard way. Perhaps it depends on the region. In Israel and the Palestinian Territories, with few regional exceptions, it is pronounced like the French j - and that's what's taught in schools.
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    I am about confused about somewhat controversial statementsin this Wikipedi article regarding consonants:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_phonology#Consonants

    Is this regional pronunciation of classical or literary Arabic?:

    ...[] is pronounced as [ɡ] by some speakers. This is especially characteristic of the Egyptian and southern Yemeni dialects. In many parts of North Africa and in the Levant, it is pronounced as [ʒ], and in certain regions of Oman it is pronounced as [j].
    The main table contains only [] (English "J")

    below:
    Most variations on spoken Arabic have different reflexes of Classical Arabic phonemes than the pronunciation of literary Arabic. Or, to put it differently, spoken and literary Arabic differ not only in specific words but also contain changes in the pronunciations of certain sounds.
    This does not mean that Egyptians recite the Qur'an differently or that they do not know the standard pronunciation: speakers have no difficulty pronouncing /q/ correctly and understand Standard Arabic when necessary.
    [ʒ] (French "j" symbol) is quoted in the same paragraph as Egyptian "g" and Yemeni "j" ("y" in "yes"), hardto tell if there are multiple standard of MSA or these variations are considered only part of spoken dialects. The last statement is certainly against that.

    The books I've got (on MSA) all explain the standard pronunciation as English J, even the Russian ones, although it would be easier to refer to "jiim" with the Russian letter "ж" (pronounced as French j, Polish ż, etc). The English J sound is absent in Russian.

    You natives speakers should know better, maybe standards have changed?
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I read that the standard (MSA or Classical Arabic) way is the English J but many dialects use the French J and also pronounce the MSA that way.
    Leaving aside the areas where it is pronounced /g/, I read the contrary: that true Arabic has the French <j>, whereas most modern Arabics have the English <j>. :)
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Here's some more:
    Classical Arabic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In modern Arabic, /dʒ/ is pronounced as [ɡ] by some speakers. This is especially characteristic of the Egyptian and southern Yemeni dialects. In many parts of North Africa and in the Levant, it is pronounced as [ʒ]. However, the true classical pronunciation was most likely a voiced palatal plosive ([ ɟ ]) or palatalized velar stop ([gʲ].
    There's still some uncertainty, and I am not quite sure about what sounds these symbols represent [ ɟ ] ("f" turned 180 around its axis) and [gʲ] ("g" with a little superscript "j", I think)
     

    Tariq_Ibn_zyad

    Senior Member
    French,arabic(moroccan,algerian)
    Leaving aside the areas where it is pronounced /g/, I read the contrary: that true Arabic has the French <j>, whereas most modern Arabics have the English <j>. :)
    There is no "true" Arabic:)
    English J appears to be a more ancient pronounciation(in general badawi and rural dialects) while french j is more modern(in general urban dialects).
    As fus7a is a written language,people tend to pronounce j as it's pronounced in their dialect.

    I also noticed that English J was more pronounced when speaking Classical Arabic,especially when reading the qur'an,while French j seems to be only used in Modern Standard Arabic
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Abu Bishr, who has books written by Medieval Arab grammarians, should tell us how they phonetically describe the sound represented by the letter jiim.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    There's still some uncertainty, and I am not quite sure about what sounds these symbols represent [ ... ] ("f" turned 180 around its axis) and [...] ("g" with a little superscript "j", I think)
    That's right. You can listen to the former here, and you can try to understand palatalization (which is what the little "j" stands for) here. Wait, you're a Russian speaker -- then palatalization should be a familiar concept to you.

    An interesting note. There is a river in the Iberian Peninsula called the Tagus. This is how it's known in English, and it's also the Latin name. But in Spanish it's called Tajo, and in Portuguese Tejo. I read a while ago that the switch from "g" to "j" was due to Arabic influence. The Moors (I apologize if this name is considered offensive) did not have the sound of the Latin (hard) "g" in their language, so they replaced it with "j".
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If Paul Meier's pronunciation is correct - which is not always the case - [c] = [kj] <ky> as in Eng. cute, and [ɟ] = [gj] <gy> as in Eng. gewgaw.
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    That's right. You can listen to the former here, and you can try to understand palatalization (which is what the little "j" stands for) here. Wait, you're a Russian speaker -- then palatalization should be a familiar concept to you.
    ...
    Interesting link, thanks. These symbols confused even more, it doesn' match any MODERN Arabic pronunciations of the letter.

    Of course, I am familiar with palatalisation, only wasn't too sure about the notation.
     

    SerinusCanaria3075

    Senior Member
    México, D.F. (Spanish)
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    مرحبا​
    I have a question about the way the letter ğim (ج) should be pronounced (and transliterated) when it is at the end of a word. I've seen a Spanish website that transliterates تاج as "taay" and بُرْج "bury" which in my opinion is very misleading. Is it safe to say that ج at the end is always pronounced as /ʒ/ (ž / ж / zh) or /ʤ/?
    And should تاج and بُرْج be pronounced as "taaj and burj" (respectively) rather than "taai and buri"?

    Thanks in advance for clearing up this doubt of mine.
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    The jim in classical Arabic is like the j in judge, this sound is not part of Spanish phonemes although some people use it. In MSA it can also be like the s in pleasure or French j.In dialects it can be those two sounds or like y in year( some Gulf) and g in go most of Egypt, parts of Yemen and Oman.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I've seen a Spanish website that transliterates تاج as "taay" and بُرْج "bury" which in my opinion is very misleading. Is it safe to say that ج at the end is always pronounced as /ʒ/ (ž / ж / zh) or /ʤ/?​
    And should تاج and بُرْج be pronounced as "taaj and burj" (respectively) rather than "taai and buri"?
    I agree with Marc. If the Spanish website chose to transliterate it with a "j" it would be misleading, so the "y" is closer, specially that I've heard many Spanish speakers pronouncing the English words with "j" as "y".
    If you were to transliterate the Egyptian pronounciation, the "g" (or "gu" if it's followed by a vowel) would be a good choice.
     

    huhmzah

    Senior Member
    Urdu - English
    The letters Y and LL are pronounced /ʒ/ in some dialects of Spanish - case in point Argentinian.
    So an Argentinian will pronounce Taay and Bury like a Maghrebine would pronounce تاج and برج
     

    SerinusCanaria3075

    Senior Member
    México, D.F. (Spanish)
    Yes, that was my thought exactly;). However, when I see a "y" (in Spanish) at the end of a word (as in hay) I always think of /ai/ whereas tall would be more reasonable (in my opinion) for /taj/ as in English Taj Mahal.

    I just needed to verify that تاج had the sound of S in pleasure or J in jour.
    Contrary to Macedonian J where чај (tea) sounds similar to Bulgarian чай /chai/ and Arabic شاي /shay/.

    Thanks to all for your contribution.:cool:
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Isn't this the symbol of the standard Arabic جيم (more or less equivalent to the English 'j'), or do you have a different sound in mind?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    ما هي حالات حرف الجيم التي يُنطق فيها بهذا الصوت
    [dʒ]​

    ?​

    أنا شخصيًا لا أنطقه أبدًا هكذا. أعتقد أن لفظ هذا الحرف يعتمد في المقام الأول على لهجة المتكلم، أي أن الحرف يُلفظ بهذه الطريقة وبتلك ولا يعتمد لفظه على الكلمة ولا يخضع لأية قوانين نطق معينة.​

    أنا ألفظ الحرف ليس كحرف الـ-j الإنجليزي بل كحرف الـ-g الفرنسي أي كحرف الـ-s في الكلمة الإنجليزية pleasure، وهذا هو اللفظ الأكثر انتشارًا لدى الفلسطينيين. أما اللفظ الآخر فهو موجود في بعض مناطق الضفة الغربية.​
     

    nn.om

    Senior Member
    Isn't this the symbol of the standard Arabic جيم (more or less equivalent to the English 'j'), or do you have a different sound in mind?
    قيل لي إن الجيم في الفصحى ينطق /dʒ/ في حالات معينة، وفي حالات أخرى ينطق /ʒ/. لا أدري
     
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    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    قيل لي إن الجيم في الفصحى ينطق /dʒ/ في حالات معينة، وفي حالات أخرى ينطق /ʒ/. لا أدري
    This is a big topic.

    Basically, /dʒ/ (the English 'j') is the received pronunciation in fuSHa today. It is not rigorously observed, of course, as people tend to carry over their own local variation into their MSA speech, but if you listen to Quranic recitations for example, this is the pronunciation you will hear. In fact, under the rules of tajwiid, جيم is considered one of حروف القلقلة.

    Now, does this mean that this was the original pronunciation of Classical Arabic, or of Old Arabic (i.e. pre-Islamic Arabic, in all its dialects and variations)? Who knows.

    As far as Classical Arabic is concerned (the so-called lughat quraysh, the composite dialect on which MSA was later based), I've heard that the top two candidates are [ʒ] (Elroy's pronunciation, which you hear in most urban dialects, including the Hejaz), and the voiced palatal plosive, which is the bedouin pronunciation (and here I mean bedouin in the literal sense. City slickers like me pronounce it as [dʒ], as in MSA). But I don't see why it couldn't have been [dʒ].

    In Old Arabic, of course there were all kinds of variations, including all of the above as well as [g] in Yemen and Oman, which carried over into Egyptian Arabic. Naturally, all four of these varieties ([dʒ], [ʒ], [g], and the voiced palatal plosive) still coexist in the Arabian Peninsula today.
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    What do you mean by "received pronunciation"? It is well known that the rules of تجويد do not necessarily apply to "regular MSA." What other reasons do you have to corroborate the claim that [dʒ] is somehow superior to [ʒ] in the regular, everyday modern standard Arabic of 2009?
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I don't know what you mean by "superior," but I think that most Arabic-speakers consider [dʒ] to be the "correct" فصحى pronunciation, and that's what I mean by "received pronunciation." If you watch Al-Jazira or Al-Arabiya you'll find most anchors will try to pronounce it [dʒ] (unless I'm not listening closely enough?), even though their guests probably will not try to do the same. (nevermind lol)

    By the way (and I know this is anecdotal), all of my schoolteachers for 12 years came from either Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, or Jordan, and they all taught us that [dʒ] was the way to go in فصحى. Once in first grade, my Lebanese teacher mentioned in passing that she'd "heard" that the correct pronunciation was [ʒ] but that she was "not sure."
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Well, I, for one, do not consider it "the correct pronunciation." I was never taught that it was, and I don't know anyone who pronounces it that way unless they also do so in colloquial Arabic. At least on Israeli TV, the pronunciation you consistently hear on Arabic shows and broadcasts (including the news) is [ʒ]. Throughout all of my formative years, which I spent in the Jerusalem area, I was so "immersed" in the [ʒ] pronunciation - both in colloquial and MSA contexts - that I simply cannot come to terms with the suggestion that it is not correct in MSA. As far as I'm concerned, it is no less correct than any other standard pronunciation. In fact - and I know this may sound shocking - if I personally had to identify one of the two as "the correct one" (not that I think there's a reason to; see my first post in the thread), I would choose [ʒ] based on my personal experiences. And by the way, that is the pronunciation I always teach to foreigners. Teaching them the other one would feel highly unnatural to me.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Elroy,
    If you'd grown up in Egypt, you'd have likewise been immersed in the [g] pronunciation, both in ordinary speech and in MSA. You probably would have heard it from all of your schoolteachers, and everyone on TV and even in speeches by the president himself. However, it still would not be considered "proper" MSA pronunciation. Like I said earlier, people carry over features of their ordinary speech into their version of MSA, which is why we can usually identify a person's country of origin even when they're speaking MSA, but that doesn't mean that these features are recognized as part of MSA.

    By the way, I'm not trying to give a normative description of how you should pronounce it. You should know by now that that's not exactly how I "think" about Arabic.

    By the way, you're right that we don't apply the rules of tajwiid outside of Quranic recitation. For example, we don't follow rules such as إدغام, إخفاء, غنّة, إقلاب, or قلقلة (well maybe إدغام finds its way in our speech sometimes). However, when it comes to مخارج الحروف, I'd say there is a an exact correspondence between Quranic recitation and "correct" MSA. What else makes people think that anything other than ق=[q] or ض=[D] is "wrong?"

    I suppose one way to resolve this issue is simply to refer to a standard textbook on MSA. Hopefully one of our other posters can help us with that.
     
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    Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Actually I've come across Western textbooks of fuSHa that teach the /ʒ/ pronunciation, although the /dʒ/-approach might be a bit more popular.

    As a foreign learner, I've accepted from the very beginning the multi-faceted nature of ج (as well as ق), and never considered that an "issue".;)
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    I always thought that only [dʒ] is the correct or more standard MSA, that's the way Western textbooks are written and recorded.

    I suppose one way to resolve this issue is simply to refer to a standard textbook on MSA.
    These textbooks use [dʒ]: Teach Yourself Arabic, Mastering Arabic, Introduction into Modern Standard Arabic. So do Madina university textbooks - they are downloadable. They always say [radʒul], not [raʒul]

    This site with Qur'an recitation also uses [dʒ], if I remember correctly.
    http://transliteration.org/quran/WebSite_CD/MixNoble/Fram2E.htm

    I think Al-Jazeera broadcasters use [dʒ]. I try to listen to them sometimes.
    I've got a Russia made Arabic reader where they use [ʒ] and someone (a learner) criticised the textbook for this when I shared one of their recordings.

    I understand there is no "prescribed" pronunciation in Arabic for ج and [dʒ], [ʒ] and [g] are all acceptable regional versions of ج. Although Lebanese people in Australia say [ʒ], so do the local Arabic radio broadcasters - [ʒ]. I already got used to both accents: [dʒ] and [ʒ] for the words I understand. I think I will use more [ʒ] than [dʒ], it seems a bit more casual. I hear [dʒ] from very serious people on Australian SBS radio.

    From Wikipedia:
    ج‎ dʒ ~ ɡ

    ج‎ (/dʒ/) is pronounced [ɡ] by some speakers. This is especially characteristic of the Egyptian and southern Yemeni dialects. In many parts of North Africa and in the Levant, it is pronounced [ʒ], and in certain regions of the Persian Gulf it is pronounced [j]. In classical Arabic, this was either [ɟ] or [ɡʲ].
    EDIT:
    The last part about classical Arabic means that none of the 3 current versions match the original, classical pronunciation but this pronunciation can still be found in some dialects:
    [ɟ] (voiced palatal plosive) is spoken in Yemen and Sudan, along with other pronunciations. [ɟ] is like palatalised d in "dělám" (Czech) or "д" in "делаю" (Russian)

    [ɡʲ] is palatalised "g" like in Polish or Russian gitara/гитара.
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Elroy,
    If you'd grown up in Egypt, you'd have likewise been immersed in the [g] pronunciation, both in ordinary speech and in MSA. You probably would have heard it from all of your schoolteachers, and everyone on TV and even in speeches by the president himself. However, it still would not be considered "proper" MSA pronunciation.
    I highly doubt that [g] is not perceived as "proper MSA" in Egypt; otherwise, it would not be used by so many educated Egyptians. Similarly, [ʒ] is the standard pronunciation used by Palestinians, and it is by no means considered incorrect. As a matter of fact, [dʒ] sounds dialectal to most Palestinians, and downright laughable to some.

    So I disagree with your insinuation that [dʒ] is considered the correct pronunciation by the majority of Arabs everywhere. That's simply not true.

    However, when it comes to مخارج الحروف, I'd say there is a an exact correspondence between Quranic recitation and "correct" MSA. What else makes people think that anything other than ق=[q] or ض=[D] is "wrong?"
    Your argument is not valid. My guess would be that the reason only [q] and [D] are accepted as standard pronunciations of ق and ض, respectively, is that the other pronunciations found in some dialects could be confused with other phonemes found in MSA (the same applies to ث and ذ, for example). ج is truly unique in that all 4 pronunciations found in the Arab world are allophones of the same phoneme. Thus, whether you pronounce جزر "ʒazar," "dʒazar," "gazar," or "ɟazar" (with a voiced palatal plosive), there is no confusion or ambiguity, whereas قُم could be confused with أُم if the ق is pronounced as a glottal stop, and ثار with سار if the ث is pronounced as a س, etc.

    So I don't think it has anything to do with تجويد. It simply wouldn't be practical to allow those other pronunciations in MSA, whereas allowing the different allophones of ج presents no problems.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Elroy, what you are saying is not entirely true; the jeem as pronounced by the Palestinians can actually be confused with a sheen. It may not be as identical to a sheen as the two examples you gave but it's close enough for me to notice that children in primary schools confuse the two in spelling tests when the teacher giving the test (hence pronouncing the words) is Palestinian.

    I personally don't think that confusion is the reason any letter is considered "standard", I mean, why don't they assume that g is the proper pronunciation of qaaf rather than q? or that ض and ظ are identical? Being identical won't make any confusion, neither would using g for a qaaf.

    However, I wouldn't assume it all depends on tajweed either; fus7a was never a dead language and while everyone has been speaking colloquial for centuries, everyone has also been writing and reading in fus7a and pronouncing fus7a letters. This practice never stopped so it would be hard to imagine that one day everyone woke up and thought "I wonder how one would pronounce the qaaf? Is it hamza or gaaf?". The reason why there is now confusion between whether ʒ or dʒ is the correct pronunciation is simply because the two sounds are quite close to each other and everyone (as persons) accepts both of them as jeem.

    One must admit though, that tajweed was never dead either; and since day one its main purpose was to make sure all the letters (as well as words) are pronounced properly; so one can not dismiss tajweed when deciding which one is the correct pronunciation.
     
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