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Classical Pronunciation of ج (especially in tajweed)

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  • Classical Pronunciation of ج (especially in tajweed)

    Hi, I have a question about the letter ج. I know that it is commonly pronounced like English J (IPA: [d͡ʒ]), but I am wonder if that is correct especially according to the oldest texts regarding tajweed. This is what I mean:

    Point 0) Linguistically, Arabic is a Semitic language, and the letter ج corresponds to letters in every single other Semitic that have the sound [g] (i.e. a hard g; the Cairene pronunciation of ج). So, undoubtably the original sound in words written with a ج is [g], but it a question of if [g] changed to [d͡ʒ] before the reveal of the Qur'an or if it changed after - and for the following reasons, it seems to me that it is the latter (i.e. the Qur'an was revealed with a [g] or [g]-type pronunciation, and this [g] in speech latter changed to the modern [d͡ʒ] sound). Furthermore, there are Arabic dialects that have [g] for ج, and I would argue that those dialects are actually conservative in that regard rather than innovative.

    Places where ج being [d͡ʒ] uniquely breaks a noticable pattern, but would not if it were [g]
    1) ج is classified as a "shiddah" letter. If you look at all of the other shiddah letters, they are all "plosive" sounds, meaning all airflow is ceased. If ج really was originally [d͡ʒ] in Classical times, it should not have been classified as a shiddah letter. It should have been it's own category, or at the very least, in the rakhaawa category, since the airflow is not ceased. If ج was still [g] in Classical times though, it would fit, as [g] is a plosive sound

    2) ج is classified as a "qalqalah" letter". If you look at all of the other qalqalah letters, they are all "plosive" sounds, specifically all the voiced and/or emphatic once. The modern pronunciation [d͡ʒ], again, is not plosive, so it doesn't match the others. If ج was still [g] in Classical times though, it would fit, as [g] is a plosive sound that is voiced.

    3) ج is classified as a "qamariyyah" letter, meaning that it does not assimilate with the lam in the definite article "al-". If you look at all of the other qamariyyah letters, they are "coronal" sounds. If ج really was originally [d͡ʒ] in Classical times, it should not have been classified as a qamariyyah letter, it would have been classified as a shamsiyyah letter, since [d͡ʒ] is a coronal sound. If ج was still [g] in Classical times though, it would fit, as [g] is not a coronal sound

    Evidence in history for ج being [g] or a [g]-type sound rather than [d͡ʒ]
    1) Foreign words that had a [g] sound that were borrowed into Arabic in Classical and pre-Classical times almost always were written in Arabic with ج. The issue the creates is that [d͡ʒ] doesn't sound anything like [g], and even if it did, the letters غ, ق, and ك are all obviously better options than [d͡ʒ], so we are left with the question of why ج was used for foreign [g] all the time. The most obvious conclusion you could surmises is that, at the time, ج had a sound more [g]-like than غ, ق, and ك , which clearly isn't the case with the modern pronunciation [d͡ʒ]

    2) The earliest borrowings of Arabic words with ج into other languages used [g] letters to represent Arabic ج, not the letters they normally use to represent [d͡ʒ]. As a example, the name Ja'far was wrriten in Greek as Γιαφαρ Giaphar, even though the normal way to write foreign [d͡ʒ] in Greek was to use the letter Zeta. (if you are wondering why there is an "i" there, it is because the shift of [g]->[d͡ʒ] had an intermediate phase of [ɡʲ] or [ɟ], i.e. the hard "g" sound became "gy" before become like the Engish J, so Γιαφαρ was trying to write Gya'far. The Arabic scholars Sibawayh, and Ibn Jinni also mentioned this since they paired the ج with ي as having the same place of articulation, which isn't the case with modern ج)

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    I think I pretty much mentioned everything. And please don't just give a automatic response of "The current consensus is among tajweed scholars is that ج has always been [d͡ʒ]". Even if that is the baseline of your response, I want to know how it holds up to what I have said above, or what the consensus is based on that seems to ignore the above linguistic evidence (i.e. how does it address/reconcile the above)
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