Dz (digraph)

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Dz is a digraph of the Latin script, consisting of the consonants D and Z. It may represent /d͡z/, /t͡s/, or /z/, depending on the language.

Usage by language[edit]

Dz generally represents /d͡z/ in Latin alphabets, including Hungarian, Kashubian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Slovak. However, in Dene Suline (Chipewyan) and Cantonese Pinyin it represents /t͡s/, and in Vietnamese it is a pronunciation respelling of the letter D to represent /z/.[1]


Some Esperanto grammars, notably Plena Analiza Gramatiko de Esperanto,[2] consider dz to be a digraph for the voiced affricate [d͡z], as in "edzo" "husband". The case for this is "rather weak".[3] Most Esperantists, including Esperantist linguists (Janton,[4] Wells[5]), reject it.


⟨Dz⟩ is the seventh letter of the Hungarian alphabet. It is called dzé (IPA: [d͡zeː]) as a letter of the alphabet, where it represents the voiced alveolar affricate phoneme /dz/.


Like most Hungarian consonants, the sound /dz/ can be geminated. However, the letter is only doubled in writing (to ⟨ddz⟩) when an assimilated suffix is added to the stem: eddze, lopóddzon.

In several words, it is pronounced long, e.g.

  • bodza, madzag, edz, pedz

In some other ones, short, e.g.

  • brindza, dzadzíki, dzéta, Dzerzsinszkij

In several verbs ending in -dzik (approximately fifty), it can be pronounced either short or long, e.g.

  • csókolódzik, lopódzik, takaródzik


In some verbs ⟨dz⟩ can be replaced by ⟨z⟩: csókolózik, lopózik, takarózik, in free variation. In other verbs, there is no variation: birkózik, mérkőzik (only with ⟨z⟩) but leledzik, nyáladzik (only with ⟨dz⟩, pronounced long). In some other verbs, there is a difference in meaning: levelez(ik) "to correspond", but leveledzik "to produce leaves".


Usage of this letter is similar to that of Polish and Slovak languages: though ⟨dz⟩ is a digraph composed of ⟨d⟩ and ⟨z⟩, it is considered one letter, and even acronyms keep the letter intact.


dz generally represents [d͡z]. However, when followed by i it is palatalized to [d͡ʑ].

Examples of dz[edit]

About this sound dzwon  (bell)
About this sound rodzaj  (kind, type)

Compare dz followed by i:
About this sound dziecko  (child)
About this sound dziewczyna  (girl, girlfriend)


In Slovak, the digraph dz is the ninth letter of the Slovak alphabet. Example words with this phoneme include:

  • medzi = between, among
  • hrádza = dam, dike

The digraph may never be divided by hyphenation:

  • medzi → me-dzi
  • hrádza → hrá-dza

However, when d and z come from different morphemes, they are treated as separate letters, and must be divided by hyphenation:

  • odzemok = type of folk dance → od-ze-mok
  • nadzvukový = supersonic → nad-zvu-ko-vý

In both cases od- (from) and nad- (above) are a prefix to the stems zem (earth) and zvuk (sound).


California State Route 39 in Little Saigon, Orange County, is named after Vietnamese-American singer-songwriter Việt Dzũng, born Nguyễn Ngọc Hùng Dũng.

Dz is sometimes used in Vietnamese names as a pronunciation respelling of the letter D. Several common Vietnamese given names start with the letter D, including Dũng, Dụng, and Dương. Whereas D is pronounced as some sort of dental or alveolar stop in most Latin alphabets, an unadorned D in the Vietnamese alphabet represents either /z/ (Hanoian) or /j/ (Saigonese), while the letter Đ represents a voiced alveolar implosive (/ɗ/) or, according to Thompson (1959), a preglottalized voiced alveolar stop (/ʔd/).[6] Z is not included in the Vietnamese alphabet as a letter in its own right.

Many Vietnamese cultural figures spell their family names, pen names, or stage names with Dz instead of D, emphasizing the Hanoian pronunciation. Examples include the songwriter Dzoãn Mẫn, the poet Hồ Dzếnh, and the television chef Nguyễn Dzoãn Cẩm Vân.[7] Other examples include Bùi Dzinh and Trương Đình Dzu.

Some Overseas Vietnamese residing in English-speaking countries also replace D with Dz in their names. A male named Dũng may spell his name Dzung to avoid being called "dung" in social contexts.[1] Examples of this usage include Vietnamese-Americans Việt Dzũng and Dzung Tran. (Occasionally, D is instead replaced by Y to emphasize the Saigonese pronunciation, as with Yung Krall.[8])


DZ is represented in Unicode as three separate glyphs within the Latin Extended-B block. It is one of the rare characters that has separate glyphs for each of its uppercase, title case, and lowercase forms.

Code Glyph Decimal Description
DZ Latin Capital Letter DZ
Dz Latin Capital Letter D with Small Letter Z
dz Latin Small Letter DZ

The single-character versions are designed for compatibility with Yugoslav encodings supporting Romanization of Macedonian, where this digraph corresponds to the Cyrillic letter Ѕ.


Additional variants of the Dz digraph are also encoded in Unicode.


  1. ^ a b Nguyên Nguyên (May 2004). "Từ chữ Nôm đến quốc ngữ: Dzương Quí Phi và Cơm Gà Hải Nam" [From chữ Nôm to the Vietnamese alphabet: Dzương Quí Phi and Hainanese chicken rice] (in Vietnamese). Ái Hữu Công Chánh. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  2. ^ Kalocsay & Waringhien (1985) Plena analiza gramatiko de Esperanto, §17, 22
  3. ^ van Oostendorp, Marc (1999). Syllable structure in Esperanto as an instantiation of universal phonology. Esperantologio / Esperanto Studies 1, 52 80. p. 68
  4. ^ Pierre Janton, Esperanto: Language, Literature, and Community. Translated by Humphrey Tonkin et al. State University of New York Press, 1993. ISBN 0-7914-1254-7.
  5. ^ J. C. Wells, Lingvistikaj Aspektoj de Esperanto, Universala Esperanto-Asocio, 1978. ISBN 92 9017 021 2.
  6. ^ Thompson, Laurence (1959). "Saigon phonemics". Language. Linguistic Society of America. 35 (3): 458–461. doi:10.2307/411232. JSTOR 411232. 
  7. ^ "Thói quen đặt tên có chữ "Dz" của người xưa là do đâu?" [Where did the old practice of putting "Dz" in names come from?]. Trí Thức Trẻ (in Vietnamese). December 2, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2015 – via 
  8. ^ Minh Anh (February 20, 2011). "Câu chuyện về gia đình nữ cựu điệp viên CIA gốc Việt" [The story of the family of a Vietnamese former CIA spy]. Voice of America (in Vietnamese). Retrieved December 31, 2015.