Beijing or Beijing?

I had been wondering, while watching the games of the 29th Olympiad (and so much reporting on same), which was the correct way to pronounce the name of this, the capital city of China, Beijing. Turns out, yes, there is.

I’ve heard it pronounced a couple different ways mostly — with a hard J sound and instead with a softer sound, as in measure.

I came across the answer in my feed reader today. Thank you, Language Log. Along with the answer to my query, the post is quite interesting. Have a read!

Update: Another post over at Language Log, this time posing the query, do people who live in Beijing really pronounce the hard J? Like me, they’re apparently given to “gliding over” or slurring consonants.

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5 responses to “Beijing or Beijing?

  1. I learned the answer to this on NPR yesterday when Melissa Block was interviewing Anthony Kuhn (who I was SURE was Chinese, but it turns out, no: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4458700). She asked him how the name was properly pronounced, and he set us all straight that it’s “Bay JING” with a hard “j”, not “Bay-SHING” or “Bay-CHING” like some Americans call it.

  2. Ah, very good. 🙂 It’s important, you know?

  3. Just so you know, an IPA [j] is a consonantal y sound, so the glide version is going from a j sound to a y sound, not to the sound usually used in English.

  4. Yeah, I had understood that from the post, thanks.

  5. Pingback: The Banquet Bug by Geling Yan « Word Lily

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