This affricate is not present in consonant tables for English language found in my textbooks. I do not trust them too much, because they omit some other English sounds too.
I wonder mainly about English words of foreign origin. There is hardly a language which doesn't have any loanwords. E. g. English has words such as 'pizza' and 'zucchini'. And there are proper names with Z of German or Italian origin, e. g. Vaduz (name of capital of Liechtenstein). I want to ask how to pronounce them in English? Is there an affricate sound? And if not, how to pronounce them correctly.

  • Proper names should be pronounced as they are by the person so named, or the locals of the place so named. However, some languages don't normally use some sounds, and a close approximation may have to suffice. For instance, Tsar is often pronouncd Zarr in AmE.
    – Davo
    Jun 19 '17 at 11:31

The affricate /t͡s/ is not considered to be one of the basic sounds of English (it's not an English "phoneme"). English speakers do undeniably make use of a consonant cluster /ts/: you can find it at the end of plural nouns like bats or crates or third-person singular verbs like hits or fights. It just isn't considered to be a sound of its own: it's just a combination of the /t/ sound and the /s/ sound.

The consonant cluster /ts/ doesn't occur at the start of any native English word. It's not particularly difficult for an English speaker to pronounce /ts/ in this position, but I'd compare it to other consonant clusters that don't occur at the start of native English words, like /ps/ or /kʃ/.

Foreign words that are spelled with the letter Z may be pronounced by English speakers with /z/, even if the original language had another sound. This is the case for zucchini (pronounced /zuˈkini/ in American English) and influenza. In some words like zeitgeist, you might hear either /z/ or /ts/. Rarely, this kind of variation leads to confusion in the other direction: the word chorizo, where Z represents /θ/ or /s/ in Spanish, is apparently pronounced as "choritso" by some English speakers.

  • What is a native English word? Sep 19 '18 at 7:53
  • 1
    @Clare: Is there any particular reason that you ask? It's hard to give a short answer to that question, because there are some complications to the concept of a "native English word". But I don't think any of the complications are relevant to my statement that /ts/ doesn't occur at the start of any native English word: as far as I know, it's true for any reasonable definition of "native English word".
    – sumelic
    Sep 19 '18 at 7:55
  • Perhaps you should use a less troubled expression. Sep 19 '18 at 8:04

A transcription for almost any word can be found in dictionaries nowadays. The loan-words should be pronounced the way they are written in a dictionary.

Take the word "pizza". It's an Italian word that is pronounced as [piːtsə], [pɪtsə] or ['piːtsə] in English.

Or the word "zucchini", also Italian. It is pronounced as [zu'kiːnɪ] or [zʊˈkiːni]. Notice that in Br.E. it's mostly called a "courgette" - [kɔː'ʒet].

Proper names are also pronounced the same way the dictionaries tell us:

Vaduz (name of capital of Liechtenstein) is pronounced as [vɑː'duːts] or [vaˈdʊts].

@Davo also suggested Tsar as an example:

Here's a Wikipedia article that says that "Tsar" - [zɑːr] or [tsɑːr] also spelled tzar, csar, or czar, is a title used to designate certain Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers.

Abbyy Lingvo also suggests [zɑː] and [tsɑː]

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