Teas and Language


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Teas and Language

Postby Aeovis » Apr 11th, '14, 13:17

So, there are a lot of teas with interesting and exotic names. The question is: Do we always know the correct way to pronounce them?

For me, the Japanese teas are easy. Rules of pronunciation there are relative the same. Once I get to the Chinese teas, or any other tonal language, I tend to lose my confidence.

Anyone have certain names they aren't sure of, or names they often hear mispronounced?
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby Aeovis » Apr 11th, '14, 13:19

I guess I'd also start by mentioning that the "Xue Long" at work is what started this. The internet tells me that Chinese name "Xue" is pronounced about how I was thinking, but since Chinese can change meaning so drastically based on intonation it's hard to say if the tea would hold exactly the same phonetics.
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby Aeovis » Apr 11th, '14, 13:35

WELL, on that note, I've found my new favorite site.

http://www.forvo.com/

It has audio for pronunciations for all sorts of words around the world.

If you're looking up a word in a language with another writing system, though, you'll want to enter in those characters rather than the romanization.
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby Poseidon » Apr 11th, '14, 13:51

Aeovis wrote:WELL, on that note, I've found my new favorite site.

http://www.forvo.com/

It has audio for pronunciations for all sorts of words around the world.

If you're looking up a word in a language with another writing system, though, you'll want to enter in those characters rather than the romanization.

Thanks for that. I, too, dont know mandarin so its tough. I know small things and may be able to make it through a word but its embarassingly off most of the time! :lol:
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby Aeovis » Apr 12th, '14, 22:28

Poseidon wrote:
Aeovis wrote:WELL, on that note, I've found my new favorite site.

http://www.forvo.com/

It has audio for pronunciations for all sorts of words around the world.

If you're looking up a word in a language with another writing system, though, you'll want to enter in those characters rather than the romanization.

Thanks for that. I, too, dont know mandarin so its tough. I know small things and may be able to make it through a word but its embarassingly off most of the time! :lol:

I understand. I'm excited I found this site!

I'm really disappointed that there's nothing up for any part of Lapsang Souchong. Apparently Pouchong is Pahw-chong/Pah-oo-chong so maybe the end holds the same vowels.

That one I was fairly confident about the first part at least, until a woman at Fava corrected me. Which I'd probably have run with if not for the fact I wound up explaining tea to her, and she insisted that a blend could only be made by brewing the teas separately-- So I can't help but question her authority on the matter.
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby wyardley » Apr 12th, '14, 23:05

Aeovis wrote:I'm really disappointed that there's nothing up for any part of Lapsang Souchong. Apparently Pouchong is Pahw-chong/Pah-oo-chong so maybe the end holds the same vowels.

Pouchong is just another romanization of baozhong. In Mandarin, it's bāo zhǒng.

Lapsang Souchong... that's a more complicated one, but it's probably a romanization of the Fujian language.
http://teadrunk.org/topic/69/what-is-lapsang/
But generally, in Mandarin, you'd say zhèng shān xiǎo zhǒng (even though 'lapsang' probably refers to something else - in the article I referenced in my post above, it's supposed to sound like 'pine smoke' in Fujian language).
http://babelcarp.org/babelcarp/babelcar ... nxiaozhong

(prounouncing Pinyin is another matter, about which there's plenty of resources online e.g., http://www.ctcfl.ox.ac.uk/pinyin_notes.htm) If you look up the characters on sites like nciku, you can often hear a recording of the sound.
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby ole » Apr 13th, '14, 16:20

I order most of my Chinese teas online, the few times I'm buying tea in a brick and mortar store I try to use their English names to avoid confusion :lol:
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby MEversbergII » Apr 14th, '14, 08:53

I certainly fake it...even when I get Google translate to give it in Chinese, I still don't always remember it.

M.
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Re: Teas and Language

Postby thirst » Apr 14th, '14, 15:05

For Mandarin pronunciation, go to Google Translate, select Chinese, write in pinyin, click on the suggested hanzi (Chinese characters), and finally click on the »listen« button. Don’t click on the »listen button« before you’ve selected a set of hanzi; the result will be unusable.

If you know the pinyin, the pronunciation part of Mandarin is actually pretty easy to learn, I think, because the number of syllables is limited and there are only four (or five, depending on how you count) tones – and because there aren’t huge numbers of inconsistencies in pronunciation like in European languages. So languages like Mandarin probably benefit the most from text to speech :D

The benefit over Forvo is that if the word is unique enough, you often don’t need to know the hanzi, because Google Translate will suggest it.

Also, because my command of Mandarin is basically non-existent I’m probably wrong, but I think that if you’re not speaking complete sentences, the importance of rendering tones accurately isn’t as high as you’d probably think if you have read the often repeated bit about, say, ma meaning horse, mother, hemp, and so on. Modern Chinese uses compounds to reduce ambiguity, and combined with knowledge of context, especially something as particular as tea, people will probably still know what term you had in mind even if you just say it all in one flat tone.

So if you don’t need to know the tone, Google Translate is still useful for finding out how to pronounce a syllable. You can also use other websites for this, of course. Probably more efficient. Protip: »Ü« as in »lücha« is written using »v« on the computer.

As Wyardley said, be aware of two issues: firstly that there exist various romanization systems for Chinese languages (e.g. Pinyin and Wade-Giles for Mandarin), and that not all tea-related Chinese words that have entered foreign languages are Mandarin. (Hence cha/chai etc. in some countries, te/tea/tee/teh etc. in others.)

TL;DR If Google Translate doesn’t find the word, try to find an alternative spelling. If you can’t find one, it’s probably not Mandarin but another Chinese language. Can’t help you there.

On a side note, the staff at my local tea shop insist on mispronouncing their Chinese teas ;)

Also, how did this text get so long.
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