How to pronounce Z

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by Polednikova, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    We went to see the Robert Balzar Trio the other night - Robert was the bass player with the "for one night only" Havel/Clinton band all those years ago. (If you're interested in jazz and other music in Prague, have a look at the boyfriend's website

    When Robert introduced himself to the audience, I thought he pronounced his name Balsar rather than Balzar. Did I mishear or is that just how he pronounces his name or is Z more like an S more generally? I know hezky is more like hesky but I thought that might be more because the z is followed by a k and an s sound is easier to pronounce.
  2. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Standard pronunciation is "z" here, not "s", as it stays at the beginning of a syllable and is followed by a vowel.
    In hezky, the standard pronunciation is "s" as it stands at the end of the syllable and is followed by a non voiced consonant.
  3. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Elementary! My Dear Watson!

    “Balzar” is not Czech name at all. The spelling is German.
  4. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Yes, the spelling is German, but then the German pronunciation would be Baltsar 8) not Balsar.
    I think there are two possibilities to pronounce it
    either Czech: Balzar
    or German: Baltsar.

    Btw, there exists spelling Balcar as a surname, too.
    The relative frequence:
    Balcar 1236
    Balcár 3
    Balzar 15
    in 5 000 000 men surnames (not speaking about other derivations of the name).
  5. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    German Z (and TZ) is usually pronounced like Czech C (affricate t+s like in cats). So the common Czech spelling is Balcar.

    Other (German) spellings: Baltzar, Baltsar, Balzer, Baltzer, etc.

    Obviously from Babylonian Belshazzar = Balthazar.
  6. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Yes, now you say it, I think he said Baltsar. Many thanks.
  7. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Yes, now you say it, I think he said Baltsar. Many thanks. He really is very good and for any of you in the UK, he's playing in London soon. I'll find out the dates and put them on here in case anyone's interested and can get along.

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