You start with the premise that the "Dj" in Django sounds like the "J" in James or Jason or jangle or nearly every other English word with this pronunciation. Now, based on linguistic history and French pronunciation norms, you claim it is more appropriate to conclude that all of these other words have implied "D's" than to conclude that Django has a silent "D".
You might be right that the pronunciation of James with a phonetic /dʒ/ sound is a historical oddity, but it doesn't make your conclusions any more valid. If the J in James and the J in Japan and the J in jerk and the Dj in Django all sound like /dʒ/ the conclusion should be that the D is silent in English, not that the French are more correct than we are.
It's interesting to note that in the french trailer, Django says "Django – Avec un D" (Django, with a D). Also the trailer is much more graphic than the (censored?) U.S. one
I think that they had to come up with something to replace "the D is silent" in the trailer, because it wouldn't make sense in french. For example the H is silent in french, wich explain the french accent on english words ("Ello 'Arry").
Additionally /dʒ/ is a single distinct sound. There is no /d/ sound in /dʒ/. It's an unfortunate issue that IPA notation might make it appear as though /dʒ/ is the concatenation (borrowing a programming term) of /d/ and /ʒ/ when it is most certainly not. The author's assertion might make sense if affricates such as dʒ represented multiple sounds, but I am not aware of any linguists that subscribe to such an idea.
So when we say "the D is silent" in the word Django to other English speakers, we are implying that there is no /d/ sound at the start of the word, and that would be correct. The author's argument does not make any sense here.
Saying "the D is silent" is missing the most sensible explanation for why the name "Django" is spelled that way: namely that the <j> would normally be pronounced /ʒ/ in French (not sure about Romani).
Prescriptive grammars exits to teach poor people (or immigrants) how to speak and write like rich people. Rules are easier to teach and learn than an essentially unlimited number of examples. Some people say this is good - it makes it harder to discriminate against poor people. Some people say it is bad, because it reinforces the idea that poor people speak in an uneducated way.
Let's be frank - neither side can be trusted. They aren't interested in quantitative arguments, or logic, or a rigorous historical study. They'll just line up a bunch of emotive arguments, and then claim that their side rings true (because to them, it does).
Of course. "Let the use of words teach you their meaning," and so on. But when it comes to names, all bets are off. Names are a special case; prescription still holds sway over them. At least, I think most people would agree that you (the indefinite you) aren't wrong to correct someone who mispronounces your name. To varying extents, this is true also of the names of things.
Join me. The more we are, the more Right we become.
So how can we best analyze why it is spelled <Dj-> and yet pronounced /dʒ-/?
Either it's because:
1. <d> is silent and <j> is /dʒ/; or
2. <d> is pronounced /d/ and <j> is pronounced /ʒ/
2 seems by far the more perspicuous analysis to me given the absence of other examples of a silent <d>. And it's certainly the correct analysis in the case of the guitarist.
In English orthography, yes, the "D" in "Django"is silent, at least in the sense that if you remove it from the French spelling you'll get the phonetic English spelling.
† — as well as "dzh" ["дж"] in Russian, etc.
"the English "j" and the French "dj" represent the same sound"
Secondly, I wanted to dive in a bit more and explain the relationship between the "j" in English vs French and hence the role of the "d" in the French spelling (as that's kind of the whole point).
Phoneticists commonly represent the English "j" sound as the amalgam of two separate sounds:
(a) English "d", a common enough sound; and
(b) the somewhat less common "zh" sound, the second consonant sound in "beige".
In French†, these two sounds are separately written as "d" and "j", and combined (try it—speak quickly) they make the English "j" sound.
This is what everyone has been trying to explain with the unfortunately obscure IPA references.
† – Likewise in other languages, per my examples above. For example, in Russian, the two sounds are separately denoted "д" and "ж" and combine to form the English "j" sound, as in "Джугашвили" (which is Georgian, really: "ჯუღაშვილი").
Basically: 1. "d" in French is pronounced "d". 2. "j" in French is pronounced "zh". 3. "dj" in French is pronounced as the same affricate you get by combining "d" and "zh". 4. This is a better explanation for the "dj" in Django rather than saying the "j" is an affricate and the "d" is silent.
Only Django devs are likely to care about this, as air-traffic controllers howling at the inanity of the Top Gun fly-by (or, closer to home, every 3D representation of hacking in movies ever).
To paraphrase Ron Jeffries, the D in my name is silent... and invisible.
"... this falsehood perpetuated on the big screen in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained where the eponymous character spells his name, adding 'the D is silent'."
"The D is not silent, it's very much pronounced."
"... Tarantino's film teaches the correct pronunciation ... it is incorrect to say 'the D is silent'."
"But in French, /dʒ/ can be written 'dj' because the 'j' alone is just /ʒ/."
OK, if the "d" is not silent, don't you mean that /dʒ/ must be written "dj"?
Why not just say that, in English, "j" as in "James" has the tongue touching the roof of the mouth, so it always sounds a little like a "d", but in French it doesn't?
When you ask "why not just say...", well that is pretty much what I say in the first sentence of the third card.
#1: You preface that sentence with "But in French" so why mention English? Can /dʒ/ actually be written some other way than "dj" in French? From your post, it seems like the answer is no.
#2: The first paragraph of the third card neither mentions nor implies (to the non-linguists among us, at least) anything about English "j" having a hint of "d". This is something I'd never realized before, and only discovered it by saying "James" aloud a few times after this post; and I'm still not 100% sure that it's right, based on the post.
...Did I get that right?
Explaining how to pronounce it by saying "the D is silent" might be helpful but it's technically incorrect.
It may seem like pedantry to many but I thought people with an interest in linguistics might find it helpful.
Incidentally, I wonder if there are any languages where /d͡ʒ/ != /dʒ/ or if it's just impossible to produce that sequence.
I wonder about Italian, though. Would it be correct to say the <g> is silent in <gli>?
Seems a much tougher call in Italian. I would say /d͡ʒ/ has a much closer relationship to /dʒ/ than /ʎ/ does to /gli/ for example.
In this talk, you can hear a Django dev pronouncing it (quite often): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-WXiqrzAf8
Django is pronounced with an initial sound that, in English is often written "j". This might lead one to think of the "D" as silent with the "j" being pronounced the way it is in English.
However, that doesn't explain why the "D" is there in the first place.
A more insightful way to think of it is to remember it's a French spelling. Think of the "j" as being pronounced as in French. Now put a "d" sound in front of it. When the "d" sound and "j" sound merge, you get something called an affricate. This particular affricate is the same sound used in English to pronounce just "j".
So a French "dj" is like an English "j". The "d" isn't silent, though, because the French "j" is not the same as the English "j".