is dž palatalized dz?
Yes, it is. Just like Z -> Ž.
Now I want to point out how accurate the writing of DZ is related to the spoken form. I mean, why it is written the way it is and why it is good the way it is. When you want to make the DZ sound, you place your tongue in the position as you were going to say D, but then you pronounce Z instead. Latin alphabet doesn’t have a distinct letter for this sound, so we use a digraph instead and it’s very accurate, as you can see.
Now, why is DŽ considered a palatalized DZ:
The sounds of C, D, DZ, T, L, N, S and Z are created by placing your tongue on your teeth.
The palatalized sounds Č, Ď, DŽ, Ť, Ľ, Ň, Š and Ž are created just like if you were trying to pronounce the former ones, but the sound is not made at your teeth, but by placing your tongue on your inner gums behind the teeth (for gums see the picture below).
DZ/DŽ sounds are very close to C/Č, when it comes to the placement of your tongue during pronunciation.
Some Slovak translations:
duga (rainbow), duga (long) = dúha, dlhá
Gorè goré gore gorē. = Hore horšie hory horia.
I am alone. = Som sám. / Sám som.
Now замок (lock) and замок (castle) are written the same in Slovak as well – zámok. However, they’re even pronounced the same. We cannot differentiate between them using pronunciation. Their meaning is known solely by the context.
But there are other ways to differentiate between them:
- We can use the feminine form for the lock – zámka.
- We can use synonyms for the castle – hrad*.
* Well, there are differences between hrad and zámok. The first one is used for old fortified buildings for strategic purposes. The latter is used for younger buildings of the same type or modified castles and their purposes are representative. Although we often use them interchangeably.