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Why is a soft "ji" in Asia (アジア), but in John (ジョン) - is a hard "ji"?

Is it just pronunciation or is there an actual discernable/readable difference?

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  • That's interesting. Please note though that ジ is treated differently from ジョ.
    – rebuuilt
    Jun 5, 2020 at 12:12
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    This is just me, but I think they have the same "hardness"
    – rebuuilt
    Jun 5, 2020 at 12:13
  • I'm surprised that this already has a best answer. There is indeed a difference for many speakers, especially of Tokyo dialect or standard Japanese, between j-sounds at the beginning of a word or after a consonant and those between vowels. Likewise, there is a difference between the other z-sounds depending on the phenomic environment. I can't remember no where I first came across this, but it is worth researching in a japanese resource, by which I mean written in Japanese. Jun 5, 2020 at 15:06
  • @James Edwards Can you be more specific on how the positioning of ĵ affects the pronunciation of it?
    – kandyman
    Jun 5, 2020 at 15:59
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    @Dane Brouwer I found an interesting thread which seems to explain your question, so I have removed my own answer as it might be misleading. Check here: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/18094/…
    – kandyman
    Jun 6, 2020 at 10:58

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