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Q: Pronouncing Joao ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Pronouncing Joao
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: asylvain-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 14 Jun 2006 10:24 PDT
Expires: 14 Jul 2006 10:24 PDT
Question ID: 738105
How do you pronounce Joao?
Subject: Re: Pronouncing Joao
Answered By: boquinha-ga on 14 Jun 2006 20:39 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello asylvain-ga!

Your question caught my eye, as I am a native Portuguese speaker!
Joćo, or John, is a very tricky name to pronounce. But let?s get to
it. I do believe I can help!

Let?s start with the first letter. In Portuguese, unlike Spanish, the
?J? is pronounced in a way similar (but not exactly) to how we say it
in English. In English, we really ?hit? the ?J? sound in words like
jug, jar, and, yes, even John. In Portuguese, the ?J? is pronounced in
a slightly softer way (your tongue sort of hits the back of your teeth
when you pronounce it in English, but the Portuguese pronunciation has
you holding your tongue behind your teeth for a little bit longer) and
sounds like the first sound you hear in the name Zsa Zsa (as in
Gabor). When you say Zsa Zsa?s name, just say the ?Zs? part out loud
(don?t pronounce the ?a?) and keep making that sound. You?ve just said
the Portuguese ?J? sound. (You should see me sitting here at my
computer and saying these sounds over and over again and thinking
about how to spell them!)

You go right into the next sound in ?Joćo.? Keep making that ?Zs? (as
in Zsa Zsa) sound and go right into a ?wuh? sound (like the very first
?wuh? sound in the word ?wonder?). So now you have Zs + wuh . . .

 . . . and from those sounds, you go right into the next sound (like a
cute phonetic train). Your next sound sort of starts in the middle of
that ?wuh? sound (and here?s where it gets nasally?the tilde over the
?a? is your clue for that)?and goes right into a VERY nasally ?ow?
sound that almost sounds like the ?ow? in the English word ?gown.? You
really open your mouth wider for that ?ow? part. And you sort of
swallow the ?w? so that you hardly hear it. Your lips form the ?w? but
you don?t really pronounce it. It?s sort of how you wrap up the word
nicely, if that makes any sense. See? This is very tricky!

So, you put it all together (like cars of a train) and you?ve got ?Zs?
(as in Zsa Zsa) + ?wuh? (as in wonder) + ?ow? (as in gown). Zs + wuh +

Here is a link from Merriam Webster with an audio sound for you to
hear to help you have an idea how to pronounce it:

They list the pronunciation as: zhwaun (the n should be a superscripted n).

Wow, as tricky as this has been to write, this is kind of fun! Thank
you for such an enjoyable question! If you have need of further
clarification, please let me know how I can help! Obrigada!

Boquinha-ga (my name means ?little mouth? in Portuguese)

Search Strategy:
Personal knowledge
Link from my good colleague thx1138-ga (Obrigada!)

Request for Answer Clarification by asylvain-ga on 25 Dec 2006 15:44 PST
You should know...

I just saw this.  Some 6 months after you had the courtesy to answer.
Thank you so much.  

A fantastic answer.  We named our son Joćo, but wanted to make sure we
had the right pronunciation.  And thank god we were right.


Clarification of Answer by boquinha-ga on 27 Dec 2006 18:44 PST
Thank you so much for your kind words and 5 stars! And congratulations
on your son and his name! It is bittersweet for me to see your
comments, as Google Answers is soon closing--I'm so grateful that I've
been able to help you with this. Thank you again!

Best Wishes, 

Clarification of Answer by boquinha-ga on 27 Dec 2006 19:13 PST
Even after posting to you, my clarification notification feature is
up--I'm trying to post again to see if that helps. Thank you again for
the 5 shiny stars and your kind words!
asylvain-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
This answers was amazing.
It took me 6 months to check but I am floored!!

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