Do you know this feeling when you meet a Chinese Taijiquan master and you wonder how to pronounce Taijiquan correctly? Without embarassing yourself in front of a Chinese native speaker?
I got you covered! Continue reading and find out how to say Taijiquan.
BTW: it doesn’t matter if you use Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan. Pronunciation of 太極拳 is always the same!
Let’s start with this video:
Now we’ll go deeper into Chinese pronunciation. The thing is that it is a tonal language. That means it’s not only important to know the different vowels and consonants. But one also needs to know the tone!
There are four different tones:
- high and staying at the same level (almost monotone)
- rising moderately (like in a question)
- falling, then rising (tonal “dipping”)
- starting high and dropping sharply (sounds like an angry command)
Luckily some wise people developed a system to mark how to pronounce each word. Because something like “MA” can mean different things depending on how you pronounce it:
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. Or have a look at illustrations of the 4 tones. if you want to see an illustration of the tones, picture, look here.
Now let’s have a look at the different parts of Taijiquan:
Taì say “tie” like in “to tie” and go down with your tone.
Jí say “jee” and go up in your tone “jee?”
Quán say “chwenn” and go up in your tone, as if saying “chwenn?”
Now say it all together:
If you are still unsure, listen to different people saying Taìjíquán here.
Fantastic! Now you know how to pronounce Taijiquan! If you want to learn more about what Taijiquan is, have a look at my blogpost about “what is Taijiquan”!
Or you can listen to more Qi Gong and Taijiquan related terms and there pronunciation here.