Thanks for that lucid and very insightful statement in perfect English with what appears to be perfect understanding of Chinese.xuancheng wrote:I have seen Pu-erh ~snip~ if everyone says it a little bit differently.
wyardley wrote:I say it more or less poowur - kind of in between one syllable and two, with the second syllable pretty short and de-stressed. My girlfriend is a native Mandarin speaker (though from Southern China, so her Mandarin isn't that standard), and that's more or less my best attempt at saying it how she says it.
I made her say it by itself just now and listened carefully, and there's a little bit of an "ar" in there, but not at all the way white people say it, all pirate-like. I could be wrong, but I think it's the "e" sound that sinosplice describes as "somewhere between 'put' and 'uh'".
It's going to be hard for non native speakers to say it exactly right, especially since it's a double third tone (pǔ ěr). Maybe someone else can step in and say if that's pronounced with a half third tone (which is basically a second tone) and then a full tone, or if the 'er' ends up being more of a neutral tone, though I don't think most native speakers think about the tones, because they just say it right naturally.
Anyway, I think "poowur" is closer to the sound most Mandarin speakers would make than "poo arrr" or "poo air".
I remember the first time I was trying to order pu'er from a Cantonese vendor - it took him a long time to realize I was talking about bolay.