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Does anyone know of an official pronunciation of the name "Jadis", for the White Witch, in CS Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia?

I've heard variations on the "a" as:

  1. ā: as in "jay" (seems common in the US)
  2. ä: as in "yacht" (seems common outside the US)

I suppose variations on the "J" could exist as:

  1. j: as in "jay" (I've only heard Jadis pronounced with this "J")
  2. zh: as in "je ne sais quoi"
  3. y: as in "Johannes"
  4. h: as in "jalapeño"

Has Mr Lewis spoken to this, or has his estate? What about the animated film, the live-action films, and the BBC radio dramatization (and how official would these be)?

I see no offering at WikiNarnia nor Wikipedia.

I've seen suggestions that the name "Jadis" could be connected to the French jadis ("long ago") and the Persian jadu ("witch"), which could lend credence to consonant (2) and vowel (2) listed above.

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  • I'm quite curious about this too; I've wondered the same thing. Whether the film has it right or not I haven't a clue but with the background noise I can't hear it all anyway. Quite curious if someone knows the answer! Great question.
    – Pryftan
    Jul 30 '17 at 18:23
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    This answer would strongly imply that the pronunciations in the Focus on the Family production of Dawn Treader are correct and accurate, making it Jah-diss (with a hard J and a hard ah like Ja-ck) rather that jay-dis.
    – Valorum
    Jul 30 '17 at 19:26
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    @Valorum - "Jay-Dis" would make a great rapper name, though. I know, I know, comments aren't meant for discussion; I just couldn't resist.
    – Mikey
    Sep 3 '17 at 22:12
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    The accepted answer to another question includes correspondence with the pronunciation consultatn for the FOF series, who got his pronunciations from C. S. Lewis himself. (scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/15467/…)
    – pojo-guy
    Apr 13 '18 at 22:27
  • I've always pronounced it to rhyme with TARDIS - I don't think that quite fits any of the pronunciations in your list? May 1 '21 at 12:35
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In case it helps someone, she bears the very same name - same writing at least - in the French edition of the book.

It happens that Jadis is a French name meaning "a - very - long time ago". It basically means ages ago but with a very formal tone. That's a word you don't hear often. Given the context in which this character appears, I thought it was a pretty spot on name.

This particular word in French in pronunced : ʒa.dis

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I am crazy about this name! I myself heard it pronounced "JAY-dis" in the BBC version of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe & "JAH-dis" in the Disney version, but I prefer the French pronunciation "Zha-DEES". It always comes out of my mouth the American way though, because that's the way I first heard it.

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  • 4
    But is either the BBC or Disney pronunciation officially sanctioned? Especially since they differ?
    – DavidW
    Apr 30 '21 at 21:17

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