Chinese Name Pronunciation Tutorial

By Xinlan ‘Annie’ Chen, Dormitory Life Division Head

To access the video tutorial, all you have to do is click on this link and log in with your LCA email address.

Naming, particularly for LCA’s Chinese international students, is an important and complicated issue. As you may have noticed, most Chinese students have chosen English names for themselves because certain sounds in Chinese simply do not exist in English. Therefore, it is really hard for native English speakers to pronounce Chinese names correctly. However, hard does not imply impossible. Learning Chinese pronunciation is definitely not an overnight process, but it is not an unconquerable challenge either. After all, they are the names of your friends and students, and this pronunciation tutorial is created to lead the way for those who are willing to try.

Before introducing you the tutorial, I am going to digress a little and ask if you have seen the 2018 Spring Show, “International Arrivals”. If the answer is negative, we highly recommended you do so. Attached is also a link to a detailed review/report written by our Division Head of Performing Arts, Katrina Shell.

As a show dedicated to celebrating the diverse culture at LCA, the play acknowledged cultural clashes in a theatrical way. While some of these incidences were light and humorous, others meant to be educational and heavy. Naming was one of the serious topics where a group of Chinese students explained people’s common misunderstandings about their real names and offered helpful notes for those attempting to pronounce their friends’ Chinese name (video starting point: 1:49:50).

To further address the diversity of our school, LCA’s North Campus, now under new administration, launched a short video introducing dorm students at the beginning of this school year. In the video, many students pronounced their names in their original ways. Some of you may have tried to watch the video over and over to learn those authentic pronunciations, but, after all, those are foreign languages descended from language roots completely alien from English. There is hardly a way for a native English speaker to mimic those names perfectly just by watching this video again and again. It is kind of fast for a tutorial.

It was Ms. Nies who identified this problem and first proposed this pronunciation project. As you will see below, in the Flipgrid platform set up by Mrs. Johnson, students have posted slow pronunciation tutorials for their own names. Some of them have even challenged you to learn their original name. Before you take up the challenge of correctly pronouncing the names of members of LCA’s international community, here are some notes to keep in mind:

1. For Chinese names, the last name always goes in front of the first name, and they are always pronounced together. You will find student say their last name and first name together in the tutorials. Please don’t be surprised. It is the way these names ought to be. If your friend/student allows you to call him/her by only the first name, you should be happy, because first names alone are usually used among family members to imply intimacy. (aka. he/she loves you!)

2. The italics line is for pronunciation purposes only. As some of you may know, Chinese characters are logograms, meaning that all Chinese names spelled in English letters are not original names. Even though you may have seen them written using the English alphabets hundreds of times, these are only compromises to account for an international language. Those spellings came from a pronouncing system called Pinyin, a system widely used in dictionaries, keyboard typing, as well as rudimentary Chinese lessons. Unfortunately, the pronouncing system does not necessarily apply to English phonics rules, and that is what makes some names seemingly unpronounceable with strange letters like “q” and “s”. In order to solve this frustration, we spelled out students’ names with English pronunciation rules. Therefore, the lines you will see in Italics on the bottom of the back pages are neither right ways to write out nor to pronounce the names, but, as long as they work and we can pronounce these names correctly, we will accept this imperfection before you decide to formally take up Chinese.

3. Currently, only Chinese names are included. Tutorials for other languages are coming soon. Also, if you are a student at LCA who thinks your name is mispronounced frequently, please email Annie Chen at xinlan.chen@lca.edu, and I will help you to add your own tutorial.

Finally, have fun with these tutorials! Please don’t hesitate to practice saying the name with the student in question, so you can get the right intonation AND, most amazingly, make a closer friend!

Good luck and thank you so much for caring and trying!

 

English NameChinese NamePronunciation
Annie Ai艾晨洋Ai Chenyangai chung-yahng
Annie Chen陈馨兰Chen Xinlanchehn sheen lanh
Harley Cheng成润梓Cheng Runzichung ruhn zzi
Victor Fang方大中Fang Dazhongfahng da jhong
Stella Feng冯辰晓Feng Chenxiaofung chehn shee-ow
Eric Fu富晨睿Fu Chenruifu chehn-ray
Allen Gao高海涵Gao Haihanghow hai henh
Steven Gao高熙辰Gao Xichenghow shee chehn
Leo Gong龚磊Gong Leigong lay
Tony Hou侯承志Hou Chengzhihoe chung chih
Leo Huang黄磊Huang Leihwung lay
Christine Huang黄乔颐Huang Qiaoyihwung cheeow yee
Alena Hui惠格致Hui Gezhihway ge juh
Charlie Ji季立超Ji Lichaoji li chow
Clark Jin金佳玄Jin Jiaxuanjin jee-a sh-w-en
Sylvia Li李婧婷Li Jingtingli jin ting
Eva Lin林久雅Lin Jiuyalyn jeou ya
Cindy Liu刘嘉玥Liu Jiayueleeoh jee-ah yu-eh
Rainnie Liu刘睿滢Liu Ruiyingleeoh ray in
David Luo罗郅成Luo Zhichenglwo juh chung
Andy Luo罗祖睿Luo Zuruilwo zoo-ray
Catherine Mao毛子艾Mao Ziaimow tsih-ai
Terry Meng孟楚翔Meng Chuxiangmung choo shee-ahng
Lynn Pan潘琳Pan Linpan lyn
Chritina Qiao乔子洋Qiao Ziyangcheehow tsih yahng
Aiden Qu瞿泽宇Qu Zeyuchy tsuh yu
Anqi Wang汪安祺Wang Anqiwahng en chi
Lydia Wu吴桐Wu Tongwu tong
Wendy Xi席茜雯Xi Qianwenshee ch’ien when
Sophia Xie解舒显Xie Shuxianshiuh shoo shee-an
Mazer Xu徐铭泽Xu Mingzehsu min tsuh
Alice Xu徐苏萌Xu Sumenghsu sue mung
Bella Xu许悦怡Xu Yueyihsu yueh yee
Tracy Yang杨婧宜Yang Jingyiyahng jin yee
Neil Zhang张师玮Zhang Shiweijahng shih way
Aimee Zhao赵耕墨Zhao Gengmojhow guhn mo
Tigger Zhao赵彰远Zhao Zhangyuanjhow jahng yu-en
Gerald Zhao赵中泽Zhao Zhongzejhow ch’ong tsuh
Peter Zheng郑镕Zheng Rongjchung rong
Tim Zhou周鼎湙Zhou Dingyijoe ding yee
Emily Zhou周淑炎Zhou Shuyanjoe shoo yen
Tyler Zhou周天豪Zhou Tianhaojoe tee-en how
Alex Zhou周子曦Zhou Zixijoe tsih-hsi