ج - جيم pronunciation

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Wadi Hanifa

Senior Member
Arabic
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.

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.
So your view is that whatever pronunciation exists in any dialect will be considered standard by speakers of that dialect, unless that pronunciation causes ambiguity with other letters?

Also, can you think of any other example of a letter whose مخرج in MSA differs from its مخرج in Quranic recitation?

Anyway, here's an excerpt from a review of a book on linguistics by a Lebanese scholar named نادر سراج:

وقدم عرضا استشهد فيه بباحثين وكتاب قدامى ومحدثين وتحدث فيه مثلا عن الجيم في توصيف كل من سيبويه (183 للهجرة) وابن جني (393 للهجرة) عطفا على آخرين. وتحدث عن الجيم معطشة وشامية كما وردت عند رفاعة الطهطاوي في "تخليص الإبريز في تلخيص باريز" (1834) ثم عن الجيم الفصيحة عند الدكتور إبراهيم أنيس في "الأصوات اللغوية" والذي انتهى إلى أن للجيم من الناحية الصوتية ثلاثة أنواع هي.. "شديدة خالصة الشدة وتلك هي الجيم المصرية ومزدوجة من الشدة والرخاوة فيها من الصفتين معا وتلك هي المسماة بالفصيحة وأخيرا تلك الجيم الرخوة الخالصة الرخاوة وهي الجيم الشامية. ومخرج النوعين الأخيرين من وسط الحنك..."

Of course he's quoting إبراهيم أنيس, who was Egyptian.
 
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  • Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    This comment when describing the pronunciation of letter ﺝ is quite common:

    in Arabic, it represents a voiced postalveolar affricate [dʒ] in the standard language, though this varies (with [ɡ] and [ʒ] being the most common) from dialect to dialect.
    Interesting that textbooks fail to mention any variations of the pronunciation. Student Grammar or Modern Standard Arabic says "as g in gentle" and Elementary Modern Standard Arabic describes "as j in judge".

    Russian textbooks always use "дж" ([dʒ]) or refer to English "j", not "ж" ([ʒ]), the former is harder for Russians to master than the latter but the former is considered the standard for Russian Arabists. Therefore, words of Arabic origin with ﺝ are usually transliterated with "дж" in Russian, Хадж (حج‎), джинн (جني).
     
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    nn.om

    Senior Member
    أريد فقط أن أشكر الجميع هنا على مشاركاتهم. جزيتم خيراً كثيراً. لم أظن أن المسألة معقدة كهذا، ولقد وقفت عند بعض النقاط التي لم أستوعبها جيداً، أو ربما لا أرى أنها صحيحة، ولكني تركت عني التفكير في دخول جدال عنها كوني لم أدرس إلا القليل جداً عن علم الأصوات. أريد أن أشكركم مرة أخرى على هذا النقاش الطيب.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Elroy, what you are saying is not entirely true; the jeem as pronounced by the Palestinians can actually be confused with a sheen.
    Not if each letter is pronounced clearly. This has never caused me any confusion.
    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?
    Okay, that's a good counter-example. My thoughts were simply speculative, although I should mention that the fact that there is a counter-example doesn't necessarily mean that my theory has no merit. There may be other factors that hindered the acceptance of [g] as an acceptable pronunciation of ق.
    or that ض and ظ are identical? Being identical won't make any confusion
    Actually, it would (ضل vs. ظل), so this is not a good counter-example. :)

    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?".
    Of course not. These developments must have taken place over many years.
    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.
    For me, there is no confusion. As I said, they are simply allophones of the same phoneme. No big deal. It happens in every language. I don't see why we have to choose one as the correct one, when both are used by educated native speakers across the Arab world.

    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.
    Actually, I personally think its authoritative role is pretty much limited to Qur'anic recitation. As Wadi Hanifa said, rules that must be followed in تجويد are broken all the time in modern MSA.

    So your view is that whatever pronunciation exists in any dialect will be considered standard by speakers of that dialect, unless that pronunciation causes ambiguity with other letters?
    I did not say that. I was just speculating as to the possible reasons for the fact that [ʒ] is used in MSA but not [s] for ث, etc.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    So, Elroy, do you believe that الجيم الشامية is the standard MSA pronunciation, or do you believe that the standard pronunciation encompasses several different variations?

    Actually, I personally think its authoritative role is pretty much limited to Qur'anic recitation. As Wadi Hanifa said, rules that must be followed in تجويد are broken all the time in modern MSA.
    Well I think you're confusing two separate things: rules of tajwiid, and مخارج الحروف (i.e. phonology).

    Rules of tajwiid are not "broken" in everyday speech; they are not meant to be used in normal speech to begin with. Rules such as قلقلة, مد متصل, مد منفصل, أحكام النون المشددة والميم المشددة, etc. would sound ridiculous in ordinary speech. This is because their purpose to achieve a certain kind of "music" while reciting the Quran (التغني بالقرآن). By the way many of these are optional, and there are different "schemes" of tajwiid that a reader may follow.

    مخارج الحروف is a different subject. Obviously, good tajwiid requires that you use the proper مخارج الحروف, but this is not because these are special to Quranic recitation, but rather because respect for the sacred text requires that you use "proper Arabic" pronunciation. So, the fact that people use a certain value for a letter while reciting the Quran is evidence that this is the value that people consider to be "proper Arabic," regardless of their own dialect.

    Of course, I'm talking about perception here. As we've discussed in other threads, the linguistic picture of Arabic 1400 years ago was much more complex than what we've been taught as schoolchildren. The phonetic values that were given the stamp of approval in Classical Arabic (and which were carried over into MSA) represent only a subset of the phonology of Arabic in ancient times, and are probably different from لغة قريش even though everyone thinks that Classical Arabic and MSA both correspond to لغة قريش. We've discussed in other threads how the "true" value of ضاد has been lost in all dialects and in MSA, how the ق of the Hejaz was probably closer to [g] than to [q], and I mentioned earlier how the جيم of the Hejaz may have been entirely different from the [dʒ] that people use in reciting the Quran today, and may have in fact been [ʒ].
     

    Finland

    Senior Member
    finnois
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    Hello!

    I am moving to Algeria for a year and would like to clear one thing in my head: I remember hearing North Africans pronounce ج in two ways: either j (like the s in leisure) of dj (like the j in jump).

    I would be interested in knowing how these pronunciations are distributed. Merci en avance de vos lumières !

    S
     

    Xence

    Senior Member
    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    In most Algerian regions the ج is rather ponounced dj. Except in a few locations in the North East, near the Tunisian borders (Annaba, Tebessa, Souk Ahras, etc) and perhaps a few cities in the West too, such as Oran, or in the Sahara.

    Welcome to Algeria! :)
     

    Sidjanga

    Senior Member
    German;southern tendencies
    Hi all,

    Interesting thread.

    Just to give my own perspective: Absolutely all textbooks and dictionaries I have come across so far (quite a few; including A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic; see e.g. p.41) give the same pronunciation for ج in MSA, namely [dʒ].
    Yet I, too, have frequently been corrected when I pronounced it this way.

    Also, all those books classify ج ([dʒ] according to all of them) as a "moon letter", i.e., the [l] oft the article is preserved in pronunciation (so that الجمل would be [aldʒamal]).

    I find this particularly interesting and relevant given that I've heard that ج is actually handled as a "sun letter" when it's pronounced as [ʒ], at least in spoken language, so that الجمل would be [aʒʒamal]).

    Can anyone confirm this?
    And provided that [ʒ] is (also) an accepted MSA pronunciation variant of ج, would this be a corresponding rule also for MSA? (i.e. that whenever ج is pronounced as [ʒ] it is to be handled as a "sun letter" and, following the article, is doubled while the [l] of the article is "absorbed"?)
     
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    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    I find this particularly interesting and relevant given that I've heard that ج is actually handled as a "sun letter" when it's pronounced as [ʒ], at least in spoken language, so that الجمل would be [aʒʒamal]).

    Can anyone confirm this?
    I think it depends on dialect. In the Levant ج is pronounced [ʒ] and it is treated as a sun letter.
    And provided that [ʒ] is (also) an accepted MSA pronunciation variant of ج, would this be a corresponding rule also for MSA? (i.e. that whenever ج is pronounced as [ʒ] it is to be handled as a "sun letter" and, following the article, is doubled while the [l] of the article is "absorbed"?)
    No. In Standard Arabic, ج is, to my knowledge, only a moon letter, regardless of regional difference in its pronunciation.
     

    suma

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, USA
    I too learned that it's pronounced as J in jam, joke (MSA, FuS7ah).
    I've only heard the soft j as in French Je from native speakers from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria.
     

    doveed

    New Member
    English - America
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    Peace everyone,

    Over the years I've found WordReference.com through Google searches many times, and found many great answers, especially from a user named "Elroy". Thank you all for your efforts.

    In Palestinian pronunciation is the letter جيم said as a French "j" (je suis), an English "dj" (pretty gems), or an Egyptian "g" (salat al-fagr)?

    So, is it jeem ...or... djeem ...or... geem ?

    Thank you,

    -Doveed
     

    sun rise

    Member
    Spanich
    it has a relation with the dialect only..

    So, is it jeem ...in Maghreb , and most the Arab countries..such as : جبل

    or... djeem ... in Arabian Gulf .. djabal

    and... geem ?in Egypt ...gabal
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Welcome to the forum! :)
    Over the years I've found WordReference.com through Google searches many times, and found many great answers, especially from a user named "Elroy".
    Glad I could help. :)
    In Palestinian pronunciation is the letter جيم said as a French "j" (je suis), an English "dj" (pretty gems), or an Egyptian "g" (salat al-fagr)?
    The first one (the French "j") is the most common, as Clevermizo said. The second one ("dj") occurs in some regions. "G" does not occur in Palestinian Arabic, with the exception of a handful of words (like "gada3").
     

    Abu Fahm

    Senior Member
    Russian
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    I know that in general Jim in Iraqi is standard and often changed into "ya" in Khaliji. I am wondering if in Saudi (apart from people of al shargiya) any major groups share that dialect feature with Khaliji?

    I know that in Iraqi there are some words that perhaps are taken from Khaliji like yam (next to) probably originally Jamb or janib. I am wondering if words like wayid with jim changed into ya used in areas outside of khaliji dialect?
     
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    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Outside of the eastern province, the only place where ج used to be pronounced as [y] was a town called Hotat Bani Tamiim حوطة بني تميم, south of Riyadh. But I've been told by those who have visited there that this feature is no longer heard there nowadays.

    I think our friend Ayed pronounces it as /ɡʲ/.
    I rarely hear that pronunciation from younger people anymore (i.e. younger than 60).
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Perhaps I just don't notice it when I hear it?

    I forgot to mention that "yamm" يمّ is unrelated to "janb" جنب.

    يمّ means "in the direction of" or "towards" (same as in fuS7a). It can also simply mean "to", e.g. رحت يمّ الطبيب.
     

    L.2

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I heard a Saudi say رياجيل for رجاجيل (men) she replaced the first jeem with yaa but kept the second unchanged. I don't know where she is from but sounds bedouin maybe from Najd.
    Some people in the north pronounce it as s in English pleasure, occasion.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I heard a Saudi say رياجيل for رجاجيل (men) she replaced the first jeem with yaa but kept the second unchanged. I don't know where she is from but sounds bedouin maybe from Najd.
    This is actually the traditional pronunciation of all bedouins in what is now Saudi Arabia. It developed from the /ɡʲ/ pronunciation that Khalid mentioned above.

    Some people in the north pronounce it as s in English pleasure, occasion.
    This is a feature that is widespread in the Hejaz (where it co-exists with /ɡʲ/), both in the big cities and in the countryside (e.g. Taif and Al-Baha). You can hear it here (the speaker was from a village near Al-Taif). Listen for example at 1:33, 1:55, 2:13, and 2:38.
     
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    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    Hello everyone:

    I would like to know from where, comes the strong "dj" pronounciation of Algerian Arabic. I'm myself Moroccan, we don't pronounce it "dj" nor Tunisians nor Libyans, so it's weird that only Algerians pronounce it in this way. I think about a strong Hilalian influence (of Banu Hilal) but they also emigrated to Morocco and Tunisia and our pronounciation is different from Algerians.

    Thank for your replies ;)
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Does it means that all (or at least, some) Algerian Berber dialects have a "dj/dz" pronounciation? So it means that Moroccan, Tunisian and Libyan berber dialects (and may be, Egyptian) don't have this sound or pronounced differently. Thank you for your reply ;)
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Yes, that's what I've noticed, also in Najdi, but in Algerian, it's much stronger. What is the difference between "dj" and "dz"? I think I'm speaking about "dz", but I wrote "dj", because I didn't know "dz".
     

    vinyljunkie619

    Senior Member
    algerian arabic/american english
    the dz pronunciation is similar to saying "buds" in English.
    In the case of dz, I wouldn't be able to tell you the history behind that, however a similar thing happens in Sudan where J is pronounced "dy"
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Oh thank you ^^. So I'm speaking about "dj". I knew about Sudan/"dy", but I never heard an Algerian saying "dz"... Can you give me an example of a word pronounced with "dz"? Because I can't see how they pronounce that.
     

    vinyljunkie619

    Senior Member
    algerian arabic/american english
    In Algeria, we don't say "Al-Jezayer" we say "Le-Djzayer" or "Le-Dzayer"
    Dz and Dj are completely interchangeable.
    EX:
    itnedzem itshouf el talfazyoom - can you see the TV?
    stagseet dzari 3an le 5bar - I asked my neighbor about the news.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Oh I see know, thank you for examples. I always thought Algerians pronounce only "dj" and not "dz". Thank you all for replies ;).
     

    Zoghbi

    Senior Member
    arabic (Algeria)
    In Algeria, we don't say "Al-Jezayer" we say "Le-Djzayer" or "Le-Dzayer"
    Dz and Dj are completely interchangeable.
    EX:
    itnedzem itshouf el talfazyoom - can you see the TV?
    stagseet dzari 3an le 5bar - I asked my neighbor about the news.
    I never heard something like that. The "dz" of dzair is a contraction between the "dj" and the "z" of al-djazair, they say even that this noun (dzair) is more ancient than al-djazair and is related with the founder of Algier's city Bologhine Ibn Ziri.
    And the exemples you gives sound very weird to me, are you from djidjel?

    To reply to Hemza 's question: all algerians don't prononce the "djim", it's more considered to be a typical feature of the centrals areas (Algiers mainly, Blida, Medea, Qsar el Boukhari...) where the "djim" is prononced in all words. After you have the djim and the jim who cohabit in Oran, Setif, Constantine,... so the majority of country's big cities (maybe due to the influence of medias). Then, in the rural region (even those who are considered to have the stronger hilalians influence like Djelfa, Laghouat, al Bayadh, el Ouad) the djim are non-existent.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    I see now (better). Thank you, Zoghbi. Do you know from where this pronounciation comes from?

    I have to admit that without translation, I would have hard time to understand verbs used vinyljunkie619, like "itnedzem" and "stagseet", I never heard them in Morocco, nor by my Algerian friend (from Setif).
     

    Zoghbi

    Senior Member
    arabic (Algeria)
    The city of Algiers is one of the more ancient pole of arabic in the region, maybe a strange caracteristic of the dialect of this city eventually extend to all the central region of the country. Maybe a similar phenomenon occur in egypt with the gim more related to Cairo city. I think hilalians (also Sulayms and qa7tans) had a jim prononciation like 7assani dialect (Mauritania), south tunisian and lybian dialects (the most conservatives bedouins dialects in the maghreb).

    For the verbs: ينجمّ iendjem = he can , also very used in Tunisia. he come from classical جمّ roots: be close to happen, be filled.
    يستقصي istaqsi or istagsi, it's the good form of the most widespred: "isaqsi" without the ta. It's a classical verb who mean "to probe, investigate ", the morrocan equivalent is souwwel if I am not wrong.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    So it's for historical reasons. Thank you for help.

    I know 7assani speakers (from Morocco) but they don't pronounce "ج" as a "dj". May be, it's because they're influenced by Northern Moroccan dialects, I don't know.

    Oh, I didn't know this verb. We say "yiqdar". And you're right, we say "suwul" (without shadda on the "و").
     

    Zoghbi

    Senior Member
    arabic (Algeria)
    Yes that what i was saying: I think arabic tribes who come in the maghreb in the 11th-12th century had to prononce "ج" as "j" like in the french word "jamais".
     

    vinyljunkie619

    Senior Member
    algerian arabic/american english
    I never heard something like that. The "dz" of dzair is a contraction between the "dj" and the "z" of al-djazair, they say even that this noun (dzair) is more ancient than al-djazair and is related with the founder of Algier's city Bologhine Ibn Ziri.
    And the exemples you gives sound very weird to me, are you from djidjel?
    I have family in Tlemcen, Jijel, Batna and Algiers; not all of them speak the same.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    Hello,

    I recently watched an Omani film and actors were pronouncing the letter "ج" as "ga". I already knew about this feature but I would like to know if it's used for all word (like Urban Egyptian) or only some words (like in Moroccan) and is it widely used or only certain areas/kind of people (urban/rural, bedouin) use it?

    Thank you all for your reply(ies) ;).
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Thanks for your reply ^^. And is it always the case, I mean is it always pronounced "ga" in the song?
     
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    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    So it's exactly like Urban Moroccan ^^.

    And I thank you too for your reply. And what about Omani, if you know?
     

    Schem

    Senior Member
    Najdi Arabic
    As far as I'm aware, only Omanis that are geographically close to Yemen (i.e. those in Dhofar) have this feature. Keep in mind that this feature, although very common, isn't dominant in all Yemeni dialects either.
     
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