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Pronounciation of chinese foreign names


simplet

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I'm listening to a lot of chinese news programmes these days and as is often the case with chinese, the hardest past is usually to recognize and memorize foreign names and their chinese pronunciation. Recently though I've started noticing something pretty strange, it seems to me that the chinese themselves pronounce those (chinese) foreign names differently than they would normal characters. Maybe I'm just crazy but it seems like they are pronuncing their own characters in a weird way, in order to more closely ressemble the original foreign name (or sometimes the english version of the foreign name?).

Here is a very obvious example to illustrate this, usually it's more subtle : Those last few days I've been listening to a lot of news about the G20 summit in Cannes, and the way to write Cannes in chinese is 戛纳, jia2na4. The problem here is that half the time or more, the news anchors I listen to distinctly pronounce it ga2na4. I haven't found that reading of the character 戛 in any dictionary so far. Maybe they are simply confused between this character and 嘎, but to me it seems to follow a pattern where they pronounce the chinese characters "badly" and it usually end up sounding more like the original name. Am I the only one who's noticed something like this?

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Hmm it looks like this Cannes example was not so good, because clearly the two different pronunciations are like two completely different words, and usually what I'm talking about is a little bit more subtle. Tough it clearly says in your chinese article imron that everybody realizes that the chinese characters should be read Jia2na4, but purposefully choose to pronounce it ga2na4 to ressemble the french/english more closely. So it still kind of illustrates what I'm talking about.

Another example that I've encountered today that's less clear is that my news anchor was apparently pronuncing 丹麦 "dan1ma4" or at least letting her voice drop so much at the end that the "i" was not audible. I'm going to try to listen for some more obvious examples, but apart from the Cannes thing, do some of you see what I'm getting at? Have you ever had this impression?

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I definitely know what you are talking about. I don't have any good examples, only the general observation that Chinese people sometimes manipulate the pronunciation and rhythm a little bit to more closely mimic the foreign pronunciation.

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Yes, 戛(jia) has only one pronunciation, but the only one exception is 戛 in 戛纳 is pronounced as ga, all the news anchors pronounce it as gana in mainland, because gana is similar to Cannes in French, Chinese don't use a ga character to translate Cannes that maybe all ga characters are unfit to be a foreign placename, BTW in HK and Taiwan, Cannes is translated as 康城 and 坎城.

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I can see it might happen, but I doubt it's very common. Do you have any actual videos or audio?

I suspect any TV station that let it happen too much would get a stern letter from SARFT, anyway. Ordinary people - well, how do you know which language they're mispronouncing?

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戛纳 gā nà 戛 does not have the pronounciation "gā" in dictionary.Maybe the one who wrote Cannes as 戛纳 had thought 戛 pronounced “gā”。Anyway, everybody including broadcasters say “gānà” in nowadays.

If one says jiānà,it would be 加纳,the African country Ghana.

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