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Chinese Tea Pronunciation Guide

While Japanese pronunciation is more or less straightforward, Chinese is where it can get tricky. With many words having the same compounds, it would certainly be frustrating to receive not what you asked for. In this article, we’ll go over common Chinese tea pronunciation.

But before we get to the pronunciation keep in mind that two common transliteration systems exist for the Chinese language — Wades Giles and Pinyin (among other, less common ones). Wades Giles is an outdated system that is no longer used today in China. However, its modified version is still commonly used in Taiwan today, especially when it comes to proper names (like the names of teas). A few tea companies in China also still use Wades Gilles for their tea names. However, most have switched over to Pinyin since it is the standardized system used in China. That’s why you may often see two different spellings for the same tea.

 

 

PINYIN PRONUNCIATION GUIDE

Consonants:

c - ts

zh - j, like in “jam”

r - the letters “j” and “r” together. Similar to the “-sure” in “pleasure”. This one requires a lot of practice in Chinese learners.

j - j / dz (like in "dzong")

q - ch / ts

x - sh / ci

 

Vowels:

a - ah

o - oh

i - ee

u - ooh

ai - eye

e - uh

ei - ey

ao - ow

ou - ou, like in “low”

ua - wa

uo - woah

uai - why

ia - yah

ie - yeh

iao - yow

iu - you

 

For more info and nuances on the subject and read our blog post on Chinese Tea Spelling and Pronunciation