5

I'm currently pronouncing:

  • g as /dgi/
  • j as /djay/

I'm not sure if this is the American or Britisch way to pronounce it.

If it depends on the choice of words, I was just singing the alphabet.
Question: I was wondering what is the correct way of pronouncing these letters in American English and British English?

EDIT: I don't need to know the difference in a context of a sentence or a word. Just the difference while singing the alphabet in American English and British English.

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  • I sing g as /jee/ and j as /jey/ or /jei/.
    – shin
    Apr 12, 2016 at 9:52
  • 2
    Do you just mean when reciting the alphabet, or in the context of words? Because the specific word can make a big difference in the pronunciation of g and j.
    – stangdon
    Apr 12, 2016 at 12:29
  • @stangdon just as I mentioned, like while singing the alphabet.
    – Decypher
    Apr 12, 2016 at 13:11
  • Oxford learner's dictionary can help with both AmE and BrE pronunciations of letters, for example, oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/pronunciation/english/g_1
    – ColleenV
    Apr 12, 2016 at 16:24
  • I occasionally hear gibber pronounced with a "hard" g (i,e. - /ˈɡɪbə/ rather than /ˈdʒɪbə/), but I don't know if this (or any similar) represents regional variation such as AmE/BrE. OP's /dgi/ and /djay/ simply don't correspond to anything familiar to me (they're not valid IPA anyway). Apr 12, 2016 at 17:11

6 Answers 6

7

The letter G is called /dʒi:/ in both British and American English. It rhymes with see.

The letter J is called /dʒeɪ/ in in both British and American English. It rhymes with say.

4

In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language, David Crystal notes 'no important regional variation' in the pronunciation of 'j' (dz) as a consonant. But there are regional variations in the 'ee' and especially in the 'ay'. (I am Australian and might say (but not sing) closer to 'jay-ee'.)

4

There is no difference in the names or pronunciations of the letters G and J in any English dialect. They are called "Jee" and "Jay" respectively (with the consonant pronounced like a combination of "d" and the French "j").

There are notable differences in other letters: Z is called "Zed" in most of the English-speaking countries, but "Zee" in the US; and the name of the letter H is usually pronounced "Eitch", but in some UK regions it is distinctly pronounced "Heitch".

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  • I don't think French has the /dʒ/ that we use at the beginning of /dʒi:/ or /dʒeɪ/ does it? It only has the /ʒ/ sound that we hear in words like jamais, doesn't it? Apr 12, 2016 at 19:51
  • 1
    @Araucaria: when French /d/ (represented by "d") is followed by French /ʒ/ (represented by "j"), we get the same sound as English /dʒ/, more or less. In French, "dj" mainly occurs in loanwords such as "djinn."
    – sumelic
    Apr 13, 2016 at 0:38
  • @sumelic So the word djinn is pronounced with a /dʒ/ not a /ʒ/? Apr 13, 2016 at 0:41
  • @Araucaria: Yes. I only know of "dj" occurring in loanwords from Arabic, but I think the sound is used in some loanwords from English as well.
    – sumelic
    Apr 13, 2016 at 0:42
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    I must have been having a brainstorm when I commentd before. Your categorical answer here is categorically wrong! In Scottish English J is most often pronounced /dʒaɪ/, rhymes with pie. As noted by Michael below. Aug 9, 2019 at 17:13
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Many Scottish people pronounce j 'jye' (to rhyme with eye, fly, sigh etc). Can make a telephone conversation tricky if they are spelling something.

1

there is a rule:

It states any "g" followed by i,e,or y might say 'j'

eg: gym. gel, giant.

Although the stated rule holds good in most cases, there are a lot of exceptions and unfortunately some of those exceptions happen to be common words; "get" and "give" are two examples. "Margarine", "gaol" and "gynaecologist" also break the rule.

Sometimes, if we don't want "g" to say "j", we add a "u". We don't usually pronounce it, it's just there to keep the "g" hard: "disguise", "guest" and "vague" are examples of this.

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  • 1
    That rule would be better stated as: 'g' followed by i, e, or y might say 'j', because it's really pointing out that we use the "hard g" when the 'g' is followed by 'a' or 'o'.
    – J.R.
    Apr 12, 2016 at 12:33
  • But is there a difference in pronouncing it in US or Britisch english when singing the alphabet? I didn't ask about how to pronounce it in a context ( of a word), only purely in the alphabet and if there is a difference between US or Britisch pronuciation.
    – Decypher
    Apr 12, 2016 at 13:15
  • I am not a native speaker.But I can say that I didn't realize any serious differences unless you want to make petty distinctions.So I recommend not wasting time splitting hairs.
    – Mia
    Apr 12, 2016 at 13:20
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But is there a difference in pronouncing it in US or Britisch english when singing the alphabet? I didn't ask about how to pronounce it in a context ( of a word), only purely in the alphabet and if there is a difference between US or Britisch pronuciation.

There is no difference. When you say 'singing' the alphabet, do you mean you sing it like a song? To a tune? If you just say the letters, as most people do, then you are reciting the alphabet.

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