Pronunciation of "Jordan"

losvedir

Senior Member
English - California
Native AE speaker here and I noticed recently that I pronounce "Jordan" (as in Michael Jordan) oddly:

The part in question is the 'd', but I don't pronounce it as a 'd'. Rather, it's kind of a glottal stop plus something I do with my nose. It feels like "Jor" and then a little pressure release high up in my throat/nose.

It's hard to describe, but does anyone know what I mean? Do others do this or know what's going on? Does it have an IPA representation? I'm trying to find other examples but can't. "Mountain" (i.e. "moun'en") is similar but not as extreme.
 
  • losvedir

    Senior Member
    English - California
    Hm. It seems to get in position for the 'd'. But rather than popping off the top of my mouth and letting the air through (like it would when I say "Jor-Dan"), it just stays there, touching the top of my mouth, and the air comes out through my nose. In fact, I can say his name the same if I quickly cover my mouth after the "Jor".
     

    flyingheart

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    An interesting question. As an English learner, I thought the glottal stop was quite an ordinary feature in AE phonetics...with words like forgotten, button, Clinton, etc., etc. Should this be a problem with the d sound as in Jordan ['dʒɔ:dn]? But then there is garden ['gɑ:dn ]....:confused:
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    In fact, I can say his name the same if I quickly cover my mouth after the "Jor".
    You might expect that given that the last part of the second syllable is nasal. How about if you really slow it down - does it almost sound as though you might be saying 'John', or is there still quite a clear demarcation between the syllables (mediated by a stop of some kind)?

    Hm. It seems to get in position for the 'd'. But rather than popping off the top of my mouth and letting the air through (like it would when I say "Jor-Dan"), it just stays there, touching the top of my mouth, and the air comes out through my nose. In fact, I can say his name the same if I quickly cover my mouth after the "Jor".
    I think a true glottal stop would be most unusual in Jordan.
     
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    losvedir

    Senior Member
    English - California
    An interesting question. As an English learner, I thought the glottal stop was quite an ordinary feature in AE phonetics...with words like forgotten, button, Clinton, etc., etc. Should this be a problem with the d sound as in Jordan ['dʒɔ:dn]? But then there is garden ['gɑ:dn ]....:confused:
    Interesting examples. I definitely pronounce forgotten, button, Clinton, as you'd expect. And as I say them, I guess that's basically what I'm doing with Jordan, although it feels a little more extreme somehow. The particular noise I'm interested in happens when I say garden, too, so thanks for that. I guess it's the rdn that triggers it.

    You might expect that given that the last part of the second syllable is nasal. How about if you really slow it down - does it almost sound as though you might be saying 'John', or is there still quite a clear demarcation between the syllables (mediated by a stop of some kind)?
    If I really slow down I naturally want to enunciate jor-dan, of course. But if I focus on pronouncing it the same way I do in quick speech, yes, there is still a stop of some kind.

    I'm learning Arabic at the moment, and am familiar with its consonant hamza which is a glottal stop. That's the noise I make when I say forgo'n or Clin'on (from flyingheart's examples). However, that's distinct from the consonant I seem to be producing for jor-[consonant here]-en or gar-[same]-en. Perhaps it's because the 'd' is voiced, while the 't' in the other words is not?

    Thinking about it some more, I make the same noise for burden and pardon, so it's definitely just how I pronunce -rd-n words. Pardon is also different from partin' (if I force myself to say it that way, which I normally wouldn't).

    It's a very strange feeling consonant and I'd love to learn more about it.
     
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    It wouldn't be impossible to produce a glottal stop after an 'r'; it just seems highly unlikely to me (in English that is), principally because when an 'r' is in play, you would normally drop your tongue down quite low in your mouth, and maybe lift up its sides a little to produce the bilateral air stream that one might expect form an 'r' - I think many English speakers would find it a problem to move immediately from an 'r' to a glottal stop. It's quite a easy (or at least very common) to move from an 'n' to a glottal stop, or from a vowel to a glottal stop.
    I wonder if you're forming something akin to a retroflex 'd' , where the tongue bends almost backwards on itself to form the stop palatally. So I'm suggesting that you're somewhere between that and a normal alveolar 'd'.

    I'd forgotten about hamza - is it exactly a glottal stop? Does it come in two flavours, voiced and unvoiced?
     

    losvedir

    Senior Member
    English - California
    I'm trying to picture your suggestion of the 'd' you're suggesting but I don't think that's quite it. I've been playing around with the noise for the last hour and here are the things I've teased out:

    * It's a plosive.
    * It's nasal.
    * It's voiced.

    I don't feel my tongue contributing to the plosive aspect of it like I would with a 'd'. It feels kind of like (apologies for the crudeness) if you have a booger stuck far up your nose that you're trying to manipulate into position (via airflow) to get out with a normal blowing.

    As for hamza, I believe it's exactly a glottal stop and only unvoiced, but I could be wrong on that. The examples I can think of off-hand are exclusively unvoiced. But Arabic also has two weird voiced/unvoiced things down in your throat that are kind of similar: 'aiyn and Ha.

    I just came across a Wikipedia article on Nasal release and that seems to describe what I'm doing. In particular, I think the 'r' was a red herring because I do the same with sudden, bidden, etc. I feel my mouth teeing up for the 'd', but then plosively releasing through the nose rather than the mouth.

    "A postnasalized stop or prestopped nasal begins with a raised velum that lowers during the occlusion. This causes an audible nasal release, as in English sudden."

    It seems this is just a feature of English that I wasn't aware of. Feels interesting in my mouth/nose, but perhaps not that interesting of a discussion topic.

    Thanks for walking with me through this discovery, Beryl!
     
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