Tag Archives: Mandarin

Tempura, vindaloo, and other Portuguese foods

My latest article for The Week is about foods that are generally considered emblematic of the cultures we associate them with, but actually carry names that show their true origins in quite different cultures:

10 signature foods with borrowed names

 

Chinese pronunciation tip 6: si, shi, ci, chi, zi, zhi, Cixi, and mei shir

I’m going to turn my pronunciation tip attention to the Olympics soon, but I wanted to cover one more thing in Chinese first: the I’s. Half the time you say them just as you see them, but the other half the time… you have to keep your eyes steady on this. I mean your I’s.

Chinese pronunciation tip 5: Lucy Liu’s feng shui

Today’s pronunciation tip is on iu and ui. If Lucy Liu and Liu Xiaobo had talked about feng shui, how would you talk about that? Now you know…

Chinese pronunciation tip 4: Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang, -ang, -eng, -ing, and -ong

Back to the Pinyin! Today is the fourth tip on pronouncing Mandarin Chinese, and this time I’m starting with vowels. Chinese vowels vary a lot depending on what’s before and after them. Let’s start by looking a set that most English speakers miss the mark on most of the time.

Chinese pronunciation tip 3: Mao Zedong, Cao Xueqin, Z, C

I’ve added another pronunciation tip on Chinese, and you can expect a few more. Then I’ll move on… there are lots of other languages that people wonder about. Expect Hungarian, Finnish, Turkish, and lots more. But today, it’s time for Chairman Mao… and a closing quotation that is not from his little red book but may have to do with politics.

Chinese pronunciation tip 2: Q, X, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang

It’s time for another pronunciation tip on the Pinyin Romanization of Mandarin Chinese. Last time I told you about a letter you should say just as it looks. This time I’m telling you about two letters where there’s no question of doing that!

Chinese pronunciation tips part 1: Beijing, Zhongguo, Zhang

I know that Chinese names can be challenging for English speakers to figure out how to say. So I’m going to give you some tips. First up: what sounds j and zh actually stand for.