How to Pronounce Chinese Names

It’s always a fun thing for me to hear people from other language speaking countries pronounce Chinese names. If you pronounce the name as it looks like, you will probably pronounce it in the wrong way. Don’t blame yourself. It’s the Pinyin that got you so much trouble.

I have chosen some common names (common mistakes 😛 ) from China, and let me show you how it actually pronounced.

Zhang – Jawn

Zheng – Jung

Zhou – Joe

Wang – Wawn

Wu – Woo

Yang – Young

Yu – Yuu

(X pronounced like shee, not ks)

Xu – Shee-uu

Xiao – Shee-aw

Xiang – Shee-awn

Xuan – Shooen

(Q actually similar to chee, not k)

Qin – Cheen

Qi – Chee

Qun – Chee-oon

(J pronounced more like tz)

Jiang – Tzee-yawn

Jin – Tzeen

Cai – Tsai

As you can see, some pronunciations are totally different from the spelling. BTW, my name is Yunfei, and it pronounced like Ywoon-fay. If you still think this’s too confusing, ok, just don’t bother. You can call me Sophie!


6 Comments Add yours

  1. jtinari says:

    This is so helpful! I don’t have many Chinese friends, but I have noticed a lot of my classes this semester have quite a few. It’s embarrassing when you don’t know someones name, and even more embarressing when you don’t know how to pronounce it! I should carry this around like a cheat sheet !

    1. yunfei says:

      Haha! Actually, don’t bother, just pronounce the name in the way you think. It will always be a good opening of a conversation. lol

  2. myriamamou says:

    oh that’s cool ! thank you for sharing this ! I have many classes with Chinese and I never know how to pronounce their names !

    1. yunfei says:

      Thank you for your comment myriam! You know for our Chinese, we also have the problem pronouncing French names and English names. 😀

  3. mpb1031 says:

    Thank you for sharing. Some of these look much different than they should be pronounced. What a help this is. Thanks again!

    1. yunfei says:

      You’re very welcome! 🙂

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