Pronunciation Guide

Chinese words and names are often transcribed in Pinyin, a system of romanization officially adopted by The People's Republic of China in 1979 to standardize spellings in foreign languages. In general, Pinyin words are pronounced as they naturally appear to English speakers.

Exceptions are listed below.

To listen to the pronunciation, click on the audio icon. This only works if your browser has Flash installed.

C is pronounced TS OU is pronounced OH
example: Cong example: Zhou
Q is pronounced CH U is pronounced OO
example: Qi example: Hu
UI is pronounced AY X is pronounced SH
example: Sui example: Xi'an
Z is pronounced DS ZH is pronounced JH
example: Zun example: Zhou



Bi   bee pierced jade disc
Cong   tsong jade tube
Ding   ding tripod food vessel
Fangjia   fang-geeah  wine warmer
Gang   gang urn-shaped vessel
Gu   goo narrow-waisted wine-drinking vessel
Gui   gway vessel for food offering
Hu   hoo wine vessel
Jia   gee-ah three-legged wine vessel with posts
Jiao   gee-aow tripod wine vessel with pointed lip
Jue   jew-eh tripod wine vessel with spouted mouth
Mingqi   ming-chee tomb figures or models
Pan   pan shallow water basin
Taotie   taow-tee-eh masklike decorative motif
You   yoh wine vessel with lid and handle
Yu   you jade
Zhong   jong bell
Zun   tsun wine vessel

Cultures and Dynasties

Han   hahn
Jin   gin
Liangzhu   lee-ang-jew
Liao   lee-aow
Longshan   long-shan
Qi   chi
Qin   chin
Shu   shoe
Sui   sway
Shang   shang
Tang   tang
Taosi   tao-seh
Wei   way
Xia   she-ah
Zhou   joe


Sanxingdui   san-shing-dway
Shaanxi   sha-an-she
Shanxi   shan-she
Xiaotun   she-aow-tun
Xiasi   she-ah-seh
Xi'an   she-an


Fu Hao   foo how
Qin Shi Huangdi chin she huang-dee
Shi Qiang   she chi-ang
Si Mu Xin   seh moo shin
Zenghou Yi   dseng-ho-yee

Ringling Asian Art Center.