zh or ʒ

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The consonant phoneme found in the middle of the word measure is a common topic during introductory cued English workshops. While it may occur with less frequency than other consonant phonemes, the /zh/ or /ʒ/ is still a necessary segment in dialects of American English and is found in hundreds of words.

Notation

In most (if not all) variations of phonemic representation methods, the consonant is transcribed as /zh/. The International Phonetic Alphabet symbol is /ʒ/ and the name of the letter is the yogh. In Americanist phonetic notation, which is used in the book Cued Language Structure, the symbol is written as a z with a hacek – /ž/. 

Dialect

While this page is devoted to the topic of /zh/, it is important for both new cuers and instructors to realize that any word is subject to varitions in dialect. It’s key that new cuers learn to recognize /zh/ whether they say garage with handshape 1 or handshape 7.

Practice

One-Syllable Words

beige, Jacques, luge, rouge, zhuzh

Two-Syllable Words

Asia, Asian, azure, closure, collage, corsage, dressage, Frasier, fusion, garage, Hoosier, leisure, lesion, massage, measure, mirage, Persia, Persian, prestige, seizure, treasure, version, vision, Zsa Zsa

Three-Syllable Words

abrasion, adhesion, amnesia, aphasia, aversion, Baton Rouge, bon voyage, camouflage, casual, casually, Caucasian, collision, concierge, conclusion, contusion, conversion, corrosion, decision, delusion, derision, division, effusion, elision, enclosure, entourage, envision, erosion, Eurasian, excursion, explosion, exposure, genre, illusion, immersion, incision, inclusion, intrusion, invasion, luxury, measurement, occasion, occlusion, Parisian, Parmesan, precision, protrusion, provision, pursuasion, revision, sabotage, soup du jour, transfusion, treasury, usual, usually, visually 

Four-Syllable Words

circumcision, disillusioned, luxurious, measurable, pleasurable, revisionist, subdivision, supervision, television, unusually, visionary

Five-Syllable Words

immeasurable, occasionally, visualizing

Instruction

While it is common for words containing /zh/ to be included during the introduction of handshape 1, instructors may want to provide other opportunities to recognize /zh/ during an introductory course. Inclusion of words like garage, prestige, and luxury after the other necessary cues have been covered will help students incorporate /zh/ into their cueing.  

There’s little argument that /zh/ occurs with less frequency than /p/ or /d/. However, instructors should avoid downplaying the phoneme so much that students disregard it. Common myths among beginners include that /zh/ occurs in fewer than 10 English words or that it only occurs in French words. 

For intermediate-level workshops, instructors can provide exercises where cuers recognize and cue /zh/ words from a list of similar foils (words that do not contain /zh/ but have similarly produced phonemes). For example: admission, cushion, fashion, pigeon, tissues,

Instruction of /zh/ to Deaf Adults

One of the most common issues in teaching deaf adults to cue or working with native cuers attending beginner or intermediate classes is dealing with the “I never knew that!” response. This is especially prevalent when introducing or reviewing words that contain a /zh/ consonant as opposed to the generally anticipated or predicted /j/ or /sh/ consonant.

Individuals who are deaf may not hear whether an uncommon word has a /zh/ versus a /j/ or /sh/ (all of which appear the same when lip reading). In general, cuers who have had exposure to these words through cueing acquire the correct pronunciation passively. However, for words that are encountered solely through print, later memorization and recognition of patterns among similar words may be necessary. Some words that use /zh/ (e.g., concierge) come by way of French. Similarly, most “_easure” words (e.g., pleasure, measure, and treasure) are also /zh/ words.

The word lists above include the most common /zh/ words and can be provided to deaf adults who want to ensure they are cueing these words accurately.

 

 

 

 

 

measure

  • /mɛˈʒɚ/
  • /mehˈzhur/
  • /měˈzhûr/
  • 5c1m

garage

  • /gɚɑˈʒ/
  • /gurahˈzh/
  • /gûräˈzh/
  • 7m5sf1s

garage

  • /gɚɑˈʤ/
  • /gurahˈj/
  • /gûräˈj/
  • 7m5sf7s

beige

  • /beɪˈʒ/
  • /bayˈzh/
  • /bāˈzh/
  • 4c5t1s

Jacques

  • /ʒɑˈk/
  • /zhahˈk/
  • /zhäˈk/
  • 1sf2s

luge

  • /luˈʒ/
  • /lueˈzh/
  • /lo͞oˈzh/
  • 6c1s

rouge

  • /ruˈʒ/
  • /rueˈzh/
  • /ro͞oˈzh/
  • 3c1s

zhuzh

  • /ʒʊˈʒ/
  • /zhooˈzh/
  • /zho͝oˈzh/
  • 1t1s

Asia

  • /eɪˈʒə/
  • /ayˈzhə/
  • /āˈzhə/
  • 5c5t1sd

Asian

  • /eɪˈʒən/
  • /ayˈzhən/
  • /āˈzhən/
  • 5c5t1sd4s

azure

  • /æˈʒɚ/
  • /aˈzhur/
  • /ăˈzhûr/
  • 5t1m

closure

  • /kloʊˈʒɚ/
  • /klohˈzhur/
  • /klōˈzhûr/
  • 2s6sf1m

collage

  • /kəlɑˈʒ/
  • /kəlahˈzh/
  • /kəläˈzh/
  • 2sd6sf1s

corsage

  • /kɔrsɑˈʒ/
  • /kawrsahˈzh/
  • /kôrsäˈzh/
  • 2c3s*3sf1s

dressage

  • /drɛsɑˈʒ/
  • /drehsahˈzh/
  • /drěsäˈzh/
  • 1s3c3sf1s

Frasier

  • /freɪˈʒɚ/
  • /frayˈzhur/
  • /frāˈzhûr/
  • 5s3c5t1m

fusion

  • /fjuˈʒən/
  • /fyueˈzhən/
  • /fyo͞oˈzhən/
  • 5s8c1sd4s

garage

  • /gɚɑˈʒ/
  • /gurahˈzh/
  • /gûräˈzh/
  • 7m5sf1s

Hoosier

  • /huˈʒɚ/
  • /hueˈzhur/
  • /ho͞oˈzhûr/
  • 3c1m

leisure

  • /liˈʒɚ/
  • /leeˈzhur/
  • /lēˈzhûr/
  • 6m1m

lesion

  • /liˈʒən/
  • /leeˈzhən/
  • /lēˈzhən/
  • 6m1sd4s

massage

  • /məsɑˈʒ/
  • /məsahˈzh/
  • /məsäˈzh/
  • 5sd3sf1s

measure

  • /mɛˈʒɚ/
  • /mehˈzhur/
  • /měˈzhûr/
  • 5c1m

mirage

  • /mɚɑˈʒ/
  • /murahˈzh/
  • /mûräˈzh/
  • 5m5sf1s

Persia

  • /pɚˈʒə/
  • /purˈzhə/
  • /pûrˈzhə/
  • 1m1sd

Persian

  • /pɚˈʒən/
  • /purˈzhən/
  • /pûrˈzhən/
  • 1m1sd4s

prestige

  • /prɛstiˈʒ/
  • /prehsteeˈzh/
  • /prěstēˈzh/
  • 1s3c3s5m1s

seizure

  • /siˈʒɚ/
  • /seeˈzhur/
  • /sēˈzhûr/
  • 3m1m

treasure

  • /trɛˈʒɚ/
  • /trehˈzhur/
  • /trěˈzhûr/
  • 5s3c1m

version

  • /vɚˈʒən/
  • /vurˈzhən/
  • /vûrˈzhən/
  • 2m1sd4s

vision

  • /vɪˈʒɪn/
  • /viˈzhin/
  • /vĭˈzhĭn/
  • 2t1t4s

Zsa Zsa

  • /ʒɑˈʒɑˌ/
  • /zhahˈzhahˌ/
  • /zhäˈzhäˌ/
  • 1sf1sf