Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for J

Today's blog post is brought to you by the letter...

J is the tenth letter of the modern English alphabet. 

In speech therapy world, where I reside 10 months out of the year because I'm a speech therapist, the "J" sound is categorized as an affricate.  Affricates are consonant sounds that begin with a stop (the complete obstruction of the passing airflow during exhalation) and conclude with a fricative (sounds that require a partial obstruction and audible friction).  The "J" sound is combination of the "d" sound followed by the "zh" sound (as in the word measure).

The "J" sound is a voiced consonant, meaning that when it's produced, the vocal folds in the larynx vibrate upon exhalation.

The "J" sound requires the tongue to make alveolar (the bumpy ridge like structures behind the upper front teeth) and palatal (roof of the mouth behind alveolar ridge) contact.

At work, I designate the "J" sound by using its phonetic symbol rather than the written letter.  It looks like this:

This essentially means that the word jump looks like /dʒʌmp/ and jam looks like /dʒæm/ when I write them phonetically.  This also means that the name George looks like this /dʒɔrdʒ/.  

Yes, I know what you're thinking, George is spelled with Gs, not Js, so how can that be?  

Remember, a phonetic symbol represents a sound, not a letter.  The /dʒ/ or "J" sound can be written with the letter J, the letters GE (as in the words George, gentle, and charge), with the letters DGE (as in fudge and bridge), with the letters GI (as in giraffe and magic), and with other various letters such as in the words soldiers and gymnasium.  This sometimes makes working on /dʒ/ with kids in speech therapy very confusing.

Due to the ensuing confusion that comes with working on the /dʒ/, I don't work on it very often in speech.  Instead, I opt to work on its cognate pair sound, the "CH" sound (which is written as /tʃ/).  The /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ are made the exact same way in your mouth, the only difference is that /dʒ/ is voiced and /tʃ/ is voiceless (no vocal fold vibration). Theoretically, if a person can produce one of the sounds in a cognate pair, then they should be able to produce the other. Every once in a while I have a student who can make /tʃ/ but for whatever reason cannot get /dʒ/.

In those cases, that's when I become very familiar with words like jam, Jerry, jockey, jury, joke, jog, jellyfish, gym, giraffe, giant, magic, major, badger, soldier, vegetable, pigeon, urgent, subject, object, oxygen, bridge, edge, cage, fudge, cabbage, college, image, courage, marriage, and orange.

My favorite J words are jinx and jalopy.  So, every now and then, I throw them into the mix of target words.  And, when I'm feeling particularly mischievous, I throw in juxtaposition.  

Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to enlighten you with some trivia on the letter J.  Have a good one!

This is the tenth of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries that I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.


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