How to pronounce Qi Gong

Do you know this feeling, when you meet a Chinese Qi Gong master and you wonder how to pronounce Qi Gong correctly? Without embarassing yourself in front of a Chinese native speaker?

I got you covered! Continue reading and find out how to say Qi Gong (or Chi Gong or Chi Kung – they all mean the same and are pronounced the same).

Let’s start with this video:

Now we’ll go deeper into Chinese pronunciation. The thing is that Chinese is a “tonal” language. Thus it’s not only important to know the different vowels and consonants. But one also needs to know the right tone!

Actually there are four different tones:

  1. high and staying at the same level (almost monotone)
  2. rising moderately (like in a question)
  3. falling, then rising (tonal “dipping”)
  4. starting high and dropping sharply (sounds like an angry command)

Luckily some wise people developed a system to mark how to pronounce each word. A common example is “MA”. Because depending on how you pronounce it means something else:

mā  — mother

má  — hemp

mǎ  — horse

mà  — scold

You see those little lines above the a? They indicate which tone is used. You can listen to sound examples for the different versions of “ma” here (scroll down to the bottom of the page). And if you want to have visual illustration, look here.

red box: how to pronounce Qi Gong 氣功

Now let’s have a look at the two parts of Qi Gong:

  say “chee” like in “cheese” and go down with your tone.

Gōng say “gung” and stay at the same level with your tone.

If you are still unsure, listen to different people saying Qì Gōng.

And say it yourself: Qì Gōng

Fantastic! Now you know how to pronounce Qi Gong! If you want to learn more about the meaning of Qi Gong, have a look at my blogpost about “what is Qi Gong”.

Happy Qi!




  • Hi. Thanks for the info! I looked at your blog, but I practice Wudang style tai chi which is not as widespread as Chen and Yang styles. I still enjoyed your posts and wil follow your blog. Do you have a facebook page?

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