[PW] Chinese red pepper pronunciation

Timothy PWEE (NLB) Timothy_PWEE at nlb.gov.sg
Sun Nov 26 18:53:18 PST 2017

Message Classification: Restricted

How words are pronounced in Mandarin depends on what the speaker's native dialect is. Obviously Google's not Beijing Standard. Am guessing some variety of Southern Chinese?

Chi Chien is close enough to 指天 [zhi tian in Modern Mandarin] to make it a good guess that it's some Chinese dialect pronunciation of the word.

Incidentally, Standard Mandarin aka the Beijing Dialect is not useful for tracing the etymology of Chinese words as it's only a century old... and most trade was conducted out of Southern China where even Imperial Mandarin wasn't commonly used anyway. Only Silk Route products have Northern Chinese names like chai which came from the Beijing cha (tea). Tea comes from tay, the Hokkien dialect pronunciation for the same word.

PS They got rid of Imperial Mandarin as it was archaic and replaced it with the dialect of the capital, Beijing after the fall of the Manchu dynasty (and Manchus became Chinese).

-----Original Message-----
From: Project-Wombat-Open [mailto:project-wombat-open-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org] On Behalf Of Andy Behrens
Sent: Saturday, 25 November 2017 4:48 PM
To: Stumpers List <list at project-wombat.org>
Subject: [PW] Chinese red pepper pronunciation

Google Translate can pronounce it for you. 

Click the speaker icon to hear the pronunciation; click it again for a slower reading. Google's translation of "chao tian" is not very good. A better translation would be "Towards the sky [pepper]" -- this variety of pepper grows with the fruits pointing upward rather than hanging down.

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