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Re: Cómo se dice ther[o]pod y synapsid e
It also makes sense if you know a little bit of the history of
1) <j> starts off in Latin as representing the sound [j] as in "yam"
(actually, <j> starts off as a fancy way of writing <i>, which
remained the case through the late Middle Ages);
2) In early Romance, [j] shifts to [d3] as in "judge" in most
This is now gradually happening _again_ in some kinds of Spanish (where
the shifting [j] is written <y> and <ll>). I know a Chilean who uses the
entire spectrum depending on... I don't know what actually.
3) In something like the common ancestor of Spanish and Portuguese,
[d3] weakens to  as in "trea_s_ure";
Has famously happened to <y> and <ll> in Argentina.
4) In late medieval Spanish,  merges with [S] as in "shiny";
 was written <j> and "soft" <g>, [S] was written <x> as in <Don
Quixote>. This gives you <Jiménez>, <Giménez> and <Ximénez> (no idea
which, if any, of these is etymologically correct).
6) In some contemporary Spanish dialects, [x] shifts to [h] as in
This has happened in Colombia and parts of Mexico, AFAIK.
(for example, the "t" sounds in "top", "stop", "bit", "bitter", and
"bitten" are phonetically quite distinct in General American English,
but their distribution is predictable based on stress and the
surrounding sounds, to the extent that native speakers have trouble
hearing the difference, so we say they are all variants of a single
To elaborate on this: in <top> it's aspirated (there's sort of a [h] in
it), aspiration being something I had to be taught in school because it
doesn't exist in southern German; in <stop> it's not aspirated
(...something I was never taught; I had to read about it a few years ago
on teh intarwebz...), because the [s] has already let the air pressure
out, and surprisingly many (most?) people go a step further and turn it
into a voiceless [d], the same thing as the Spanish <t>; in <bit> it's
unaspirated, to various extents glottalized (see below) in order to
actively take the aspiration away, and for Americans it's usually
unreleased (that is, the tongue is moved into that position, but it's
never audibly moved out), so it takes some practice to even notice its
existence if you haven't grown up with it; in <bitter> it's a _voiced_
sound, a so-called flap, for Americans; and in <bitten> it's
unaspirated, has a nasal release, and is seriously glottalized for most
people (that is, you hold your breath while saying it), so that it turns
entirely into a glottal stop for some Americans (and most Britons), and
that's something I first had to learn to recognize as a consonant,
because where I come from it's a pause. Oh, and, the strength of
aspiration also depends on how stressed a syllable is.
For comparison, in southern Standard German and many southern dialects
such as mine, <t> is unaspirated [t] like in French, except that it
turns into voiceless [d] (thus merging with <d>) under many
circumstances at the ends of words.