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Foreign Broadcasters Should Pronounce Chinese Names Correctly!   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2015-6-30 15:33:37 |Display all floors
This post was edited by pnp at 2015-7-1 11:27

China is now the world's second largest economy, and very soon, will be its largest, and it is playing a larger role in international affairs.  Hence foreign news media often report on China, which is good, but the problem is, they don't bother to pronounce Chinese names correctly, often their pronunciation is so way off the mark it sounds hilarious!  That is putting it mildly, in fact they often mispronounce the names of Chinese leaders, and that is disrespectful, to say the least!
Foreign broadcasters take the trouble to pronounce other foreign names like French, German, Italian, correctly,  but when it comes to Chinese names they are lazy, slipshod and couldn't care less!  That is unforgivable!
I am not demanding that ordinary foreigners pronounce Chinese names correctly, although that would be good for them, but I  do expect a higher standard from foreign broadcasters!
While millions of Chinese put in a lot of effort and spend millions of dollars learning to speak English correctly, why can't foreign broadcasters put in a little effort to get their pronunciation of Chinese names right?  And I emphasise, just the Chinese names; I don't expect them to speak fluent Chinese, as the language is undoubtedly hard for foreigners to master.
And the problem is not limited to the news media only.  Commuters on the subway are bombarded daily by strange pronunciation of station names by foreign announcers!  Subway managements employ foreigners to make announcements in English, perhaps for good PR, but they forgot to teach their foreign employees how to correctly pronounce Chinese station names!  These foreign announcers are left to figure it out for themselves, and they often got it wrong!  They took a look at the spelling(hanyu pinyin) and pronounced it the English way, not realising that Chinese is a tonal language, and that getting the tone wrong can be disastrous!
This is not a problem for regular commuters like myself, we just ignore the mistakes.  Woe betide the new arrivals to China who depend on these announcements to find their way around!  That was exactly what happened when I took the subway for the first time.  I was told to get off at a certain station, with the correct pronunciation given to me, but I missed my station because I never heard that station name announced, instead something quite different was announced!  Blame it on the careless pronunciation of the foreign announcer!
What is even more bewildering is that when a Chinese pronounces an English name wrongly, he is often criticised, but when a foreigner pronounces a Chinese name wrongly, there is not even a whimper!  Why should foreigners be given such special treatment?
A foreign broadcaster worth his salt would make sure he does not make himself sound foolish trying to pronounce Chinese names the English way, the only way he knows!




(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)



(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)

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Post time 2015-6-30 16:04:56 |Display all floors
I agree, it's called lazy journalism

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Post time 2015-6-30 18:13:51 |Display all floors
dusty1 Post time: 2015-6-30 16:04
I agree, it's called lazy journalism

That's about the right way to describe them!

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Post time 2015-6-30 18:24:03 |Display all floors
pnp Post time: 2015-6-30 18:13
That's about the right way to describe them!

The West have the reverse to Chinese the western way is Christian  names first and surnames last, the Chinese is Surname first and Christian name last

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Post time 2015-6-30 18:27:56 |Display all floors
dusty1 Post time: 2015-6-30 18:24
The West have the reverse to Chinese the western way is Christian  names first and surnames last,  ...

Yes, I am aware of that. And the reason for that is simple; the westerner puts self first, so his name comes first while his family comes second.  The Chinese, under Confucian teaching, puts family first, hence they put their family name in front of their name.

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Post time 2015-6-30 18:31:16 |Display all floors
pnp Post time: 2015-6-30 18:27
Yes, I am aware of that. And the reason for that is simple; the westerner puts self first, so his  ...

That is totally incorrect, in the west your surname is what you did for a living, a little reasearch would be nice

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Post time 2015-6-30 18:44:21 |Display all floors
dusty1 Post time: 2015-6-30 18:31
That is totally incorrect, in the west your surname is what you did for a living, a little reasear ...

Sorry, I stand by my explanation, especially the part about the Chinese name.

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