The five different ways to pronounce the name “Chavez”

Latin script is the most recognized script in the world today. Most western European languages, including some widely spoken ones like English, Spanish, and French use the same script with minor differences. The pronunciation variation, however, is a different matter altogether. Nothing illustrates it better than the popular Spanish last name Chavez. The name has three syllables. And is pronounced in 5 different ways!

  1. An east-coast American, and probably Britishers as well, due to the heavy French influence, pronounce “ch” as “sh”. Just like “ch” in “machine”. So, they would pronounce it as shaa-vay-z/शाव़ेज़ IPA:[ʃɑvez].
  2. Someone from areas like California or Texas, with significant Spanish influence, would pronounce it as chaa-vay-z/चाव़ेज़ IPA:[tʃɑvez].
  3. A Spanish speaker, south of the US border, however, does not have /v/ or /z/ in his sound, so, he would pronounce it as chaa-way-s/चावेस IPA:[tʃɑves].
  4. A Spanish speaker from Spain (Europe), has a different pronunciation of the z symbol altogether. He would pronounce it as chaa-way-th/चावेथ़ IPA:[tʃɑveθ].
  5. Finally, an English speaker from India will take the French influence for “ch” -> “sh”. His native language most likely won’t have the labio-dental /v/ sound. Most Indic languages don’t have /z/ either, but it is distinct enough to have permeated into the phonology over time. So, he would pronounce it as shaa-way-z/शावेज़ IPA:[ʃɑwez]

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