Tell me how you pronounce ‘g’ and I’ll tell who you are

As some of you may already know, I have a bit of interest in linguistics. Here I’ll try to describe an interesting (for me) fact. While some of the letters are read virtually the same in any language, some differ greatly. It looks to me that ‘g’ is the telltale letter because its pronunciation differs most in different languages.

Let’s see:

  • English: djee
  • French: may sound more like ‘z’ in “azure” (Je ne parle pas français, though)
  • German: IIRC, in words ending with “-ig” it’s read as soft ‘h’ or something (Ich spreche Deutsch nicht)
  • Hungarian: sometimes it’s read as ‘d’ (for example, in the name of country — Magyar)

And now for more exotic languages:

  • Ukrainian: it’s more like voiced ‘h’ or French ‘r’. For ‘g’ sound in loanwords another letter is used.
  • Belarusian: resembles Ukrainian but less voiced.
  • Japanese: it’s easy — you’ll never see it alone since they use syllable-based system, not letter-based.

And finally, in my homeland (och jag vet lita svenska) it may also sound in two different ways: more like in other languages (till exempel: “gamla”) and more like ‘j’ — listen at example from Wikipedia how to pronounce Göteborg correctly (you can hear ‘g’ at the beginning and at the end of the word).

3 Responses to “Tell me how you pronounce ‘g’ and I’ll tell who you are”

  1. Stu says:

    For french :
    -yes sometimes it sounds like “azure” for words like “nager”, “genou” for example
    – sometimes it sounds like in “frog”, for example with words like “gâteau”, “grève”

  2. David Pethes says:

    Hungarian: g reads differently, when it’s followed by “y”; “gy” is then read as something akin to “d” (same sound as for “ď ” – soft d in slovak/czech). Otherwise, it’s just “normal” g, if there’s such a thing (gáz, virág; pronounced the same way as first g in “greetings”).
    I hope it makes sense, explaining sounds by writing is… difficult.

  3. Dawid says:

    In Polish it always sounds like in ‘big’.