How to Pronounce Qigong – Crack the confusing “Q”

How to pronounce Qigong?

Although more and more people are practicing qigong, many still cannot pronounce the name correctly. This most common problem is the mispronunciation of the consonant Q of Mandarin. It is pronounced very differently from the letter Q in English.

How to pronounce Qigong? I have heard the word being pronounced in a few different ways. Some people pronounce it as kee-gong, and others pronounce it as Chee-gong. Which is correct?

Well, strictly speaking, neither of them is correct. Watch the video, then tell me what you think. If you are like many other English speakers, chances of you pronouncing it incorrectly are very high, because the consonant Q in Mandarin has no equivalence English. As a matter of fact, it has no equivalent in many languages.

Pronounce Qigong correctly, you must know the “Q”

Let’s get the first syllable “qi” right.

To pronounce the word qi, you’ll have to raise the middle of your tongue to touch the roof of your mouth. When you make the sound, let go of the tongue. So the air of your voice split the roof of your mouth and your tongue, and produce an aspirated sound.

How are you doing?

Now, let’s look at the second syllable: Gong. This one is easy. It sounds like the English word gong, although it is a bit harder than that: Gong.

Do it right, and impress your qigong master with the correct proper pronunciation.

Language notes:

Beware of different ways to write the word qigong as well. Qigong is based on the hanyu pinyin notation system. You see the word being written as chi gong and chi gung, etc. The are based on the Wade-Giles romanization system, a different phonetics notations, which used to be the the de facto system in the early days for notating the Chinese words. 

With the rise of the new China, the Pinyin system has become the standard. As a result, “qigong” is now the translation to go for. By the same token, the life energy, which used to be known as chi, is now more commonly known as qi.

In other words, qigong is also known as chi gong and chi gong, and many other names. The translations are not wrong. It all depends on the system that the translator follows.

Similarly for a tai chi. The word Tai chi is the de facto translation of the ancient martial art. If you were to follow the pinyin system, however, it should be written as taiji.

To get start with something simple? Try this: Ping Shuai Shou – the Chinese Arm Swinging Exercise.


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