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jessica1995

How to pronounce the name chenxi?

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jessica1995

I am an ESL teacher, new to teaching students from China. One of my first classes I have is with a student named chenxi. How is this name pronounced, and in what order? Is it Chen Xi  or Xi Chen?

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陳德聰

Is it a surname and a given name or just a given name? Have you asked your student what their name is? It’s impossible to tell you how to pronounce a name that is written only in English letters because there is no tone information given and there are dozens of possibilities.

 

If Chen is a surname, then the given name is Xi. If you are bad at non-English languages then you can just pronounce this as “See” but it would be better for you to just ask your student to help you learn to pronounce their name properly.

 

If Chen is not the surname, then it’s “Chenxi” and you would get at least a 50% on a test for pronouncing it “Chen-See”.

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Lu

Xi is pronounced pretty much like 'she'

ch- is pronounced as in 'chalk' or 'chop'

I'm not sure how I should describe the pronunciation of -en, hopefully someone else can help with that.

 

As to order of surname and given name, it is impossible to tell from the information you have. Your best course is to ask the student, they can tell you exactly.

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889

"Chen" sort of rhymes with won (as in the verb, not the Korean currency).

 

If you want to be a bit more accurate with your pronunciation, "Xi" should start with a slight hissing sound made with the middle of the tongue raised up. Put the back of your hand up to your mouth and you should feel a slight puff of air. There's a similar puff in English saying pear or tear. (Compare bear or dare: that little puff is important.)

 

It's not unusual at all for people in China with two-character full names to be called by both. So if "Chen" is the family name, calling the student "Chen Xi" using both characters would be fine, stressing both equally.

 

(Given you're in China, it would be very very unusual for a Chinese student to use "Chen Xi" if the family name were "Xi.")

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jessica1995

Thanks for the replies. I work as an online ESL teacher, so my students are booked in via an online system, and the system just says I'm teaching "chenxi". I just hate getting my students names wrong because to me it seems really insulting! I have no training on Chinese name pronunciation so it is really difficult sometimes. 

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Lu

It is good of you to ask here and try your best. Your best course of action I think is still asking the student how to pronounce their name.

 

Also, many Chinese have English names, so there's a good chance you won't have to worry about the name issue at all.

 

Good luck!

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