Subtle differences in pronouncing じ / ぢ

Hello together,
I was really wondering about those two characters. I’ve been learning for a while, and listening to Japanese media for years. I noticed that じ / ぢ - which are both romanized as “ji” - are sometimes pronounced “ji” and sometimes “dji”, adding a “d” at the beginning of the sound (e.g. “maji” is sometimes pronounced “madji”. So I was wondering - is there any rule to that? Is it just a regional dialect thing?
Thanks in advance.


Can you post an example?

This is the extent of my knowledge on the matter


As often as I’ve heard people say they hear a difference (and “clearly” even), I can’t say I ever have.

Thanks, very interesting. But how in the world are じ, ぢ, ず and づ all pronounced the same?


Yeah, I took out the “clearly”. To me it sounds well distinguishable, but I guess it’s not the same for everyone. I’ll try to find a good example and post it here.

They are all voiced something close to the sound ず, which is why that accent is (pejoratively?) called ズーズー 弁.


I’m from Shizuoka, Hamamatsu (which is in yellow) (lived in japan for like 10 years, my entire childhood was in japan) and in my mind, I don’t differ between じ and ぢ


That is what the chart says. I think the standard approach would be to not differ between them.

Yes, I know. I just wanted to note that, telling my anecdotes, sorry for the confusion


I guess the people from the green region would ask you the opposite question, why are they all pronounced differently?


I went and took some Youtube clip to avoid copyright issues.

At 2:52, Abdol is saying “すごくやばいんじゃあ”, pronouncing the じゃあ with a d of some sorts.

At 6:09, the girl is saying “じゃあ、もう一回”, same thing.

It’s pretty hard finding Youtube clips featuring the exact words you search for, so I haven’t been able to gather some containing “maji” or other examples.

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Sounds like normal to me honestly.

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You can use youglish for that じゃあ | 55040 pronunciations of じゃあ in Japanese?


That tool is amazing O.o

To clarify, the difference I’m talking about is the following:
Most times, the “j” sounds in Japanese are pronounced like the English IPA “ʒ” (like in “pleasure”), but sometimes it sounds like the English IPA “dʒ” (like in “giant”).

Further examples for “dʒ” like sounds:
Majide 一日に食べたもの&ルーティン&自己紹介Q&A - YouTube
Maji 寒いし引きこもってYouTube liveするのがベストだよね - YouTube
Majika 変形するドミネーターがやばすぎる。 - YouTube
Ojamashitemasu 速報!【棚田研究会・たいやき☆突撃 食レポート!】静岡大学 春のビッグフェスティバル2016 - YouTube
Ojii-sama 【絵本読み聞かせ】鶴の恩返し(つるのおんがえし)/童話・日本昔話・紙芝居・絵本の読み聞かせ朗読動画シリーズ【おはなしランド】 - YouTube

And the most noteworthy example (just one given, but there are thousands with this word):
Joshi An encouragement of RIKEJO-ish life | Noyuri Mima | TEDxSapporo - YouTube
I think I’ve never heard a “女子” without a d in the (d)jo.

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I don’t have time to go through all those examples right now, but I wanted to get some clarification. Do any of those examples actually have words with ぢ in them? What I mean is, are you noticing a difference between じ and ぢ or are you just noticing that じ can be pronounced slightly differently depending on the word it’s in?

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The Japanese IPA lists a difference:

It differentiates " dʑ" from “ʑ”.
Footnote says:
“Voiced fricatives [z, ʑ] are generally pronounced as affricates [dz, dʑ] in word-initial positions and after the moraic nasal /N/ ([n] before [dz] and [ɲ] before [dʑ]) or the sokuon /Q/ (spelled ッ, only in loanwords). Actual realizations of these sounds vary (see Yotsugana).”

So I guess there is some kind of rule, but it isn’t done consistently? The examples I was listening to earlier featured different people pronouncing the same word differently, so that kinda supports Vanillas post.

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Yeah, but as I was getting at above, that has nothing to do with じ and ぢ. The language includes multiple sounds for じ depending on its placement in a word, but that’s different from saying じ and ぢ are pronounced differently.


During the Japanese Film Festival, the main characters from “Ito 〇〇” talked this way. They were from Aomori. Ito tried so hard to say ごしゅじんさま and it kept coming out ご○○さま。I couldn’t catch the missing symbols, but it sounded like straight up mumbling, with a ず in the middle.


Sorry, should’ve clarified. I was asking for different pronounciations regardless of if its じ or ぢ, just the “ji” sound in general (or it’s derivatives ja, ju, jo).

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