Consonant /ʒ/ versus null, 26 pairs     [beigebay.html]

The /ʒ/ sound is spelled with <ge>, <su>, <si> in suasion, <zu> in seizure, <g> in gîte or <j> ii>jabot.

The /ʒ/ sound is one of the rarest RP consonant phonemes, only occurring in 334 words in this dictionary, of which many are fairly recent loan words from French. In several cases deleting /ʒ/ when it followed /e/ and preceded a schwa left behind a word containing the /eə/ diphthong, such as measure/mare. It is disputable if these pairs are minimal, or whether deleting /ʒ/ before syllabic -n as in lesion/lean yields a true minimal pair since two syllables are then reduced to one. The contrast is not a problem.

The density value is 2.9%. The list makes 19 semantic distinctions, a loading of 70%.

beige bay  
beige bey
Bruges brew	
gîte eat
jabot Abo
  jabots Abos
leisure lair
leisured laird
lesion lean
  lesions leans
Limoges limo
luge lieu
luge loo
measure mare
  measures mares
measure mayor
  measures mayors
rouge roo
rouge rue
  rouged rued
  rouging ruing
rouged rood
rouged rude  
seizure seer
  seizures seers   
suasion swain

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010
updated Chiang Mai, 2024