Paul Kershaw wrote:
>>> Which is why everyone says "sunami". :)
>>> --Ron
> Not everyone. I say [tsunami]. 

Yes indeed - _not_ everyone. Not only do I say [tsu'nami] but I also 
hear [tsu'nami] or [tsu'nAmi] being said at least as often as 
pronunciations with just initial [s].

> Unlike "karaoke," though, I don't
> remember a time I didn't say it that way, so I don't think I picked
> it up in Japanese class. My wife (who's of Polish descent) points out
> that "ts" syllable-initial is common in Slavic languages (e.g.,
> "tsar," 

Yep - and now the spelling _tsar_ has become the most common one over 
hear in RightPondia, I not infrequently hear this pronounced with 
initial [ts] rather than the 'traditional' initial [z] of the older 
_czar_ spelling.

Roger Mills wrote:
 > Gary Shannon wrote:
 >> I thought "tsunami" was a Japanese word. I
 >> can't think of
 >> any native Enlgish words that start with a "TS"
 >> cluster.
 > tsetse and tsar, beloved of crossword puzzle makers.

Yep - and as I wrote not so long back, _tsetse_ IME varies here between 
/'tEtsi/ and /'tsEtsi/ according to speaker.

Mark J. Reed wrote:
 > Indeed.  Just like the "ch" in "ichiban", "tamagotchi",etc - also
 > phonemically /t/, or perhaps /t:/, is not a /tS/ cluster, nor the "j"
 > in "dojo" a /dZ/ one.  Since we have those affricates in English, we
 > don't think of them as clusters, but /ts)/ is just as much a single
 > phone in many other languages.

Exactly. The [ts)] at the beginning of _tsunami_, _tsar_ and _tsetse_, 
for those who pronounce them that way, is an *affricate*, just as the 
initial sounds of _cheer_ and _jeer_ are. It just so happens that while 
initial [tS)] and [dZ)] are common in English, initial [tS)] is 
marginal, occurring only in some anglophones' pronunciation of certain 
words of foreign origin.

IMO it is misleading to refer to affricates as clusters. Japanese has no 
initial consonant clusters.

"Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
[J.G. Hamann, 1760]
"A mind that thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language".