Archive for the 'Tea Pronunciation' Category

Chinese Tea Pronunciation: “Jasmine Tea”

In this edition of our guide to the proper pronunciation of Chinese tea terms, we’re branching out into more “flowery” tea terminology: “jasmine tea“!

茉莉

Meaning: Jasmine tea.  One interesting thing to note about this Chinese tea term is that the two characters share a common symbol.  The top part of both of these characters has the meaning “grass” or refers to plant material.

Pronunciation: The pronunciation of the first word is a little trickier than some that we’ve covered so far.  The sound is like the “mua-” part of the kissing sound “muah,” but with a more rounded mouth shape.  The second syllable is pronounced like “lee.”  The intonation of these syllables is also a little tricky.  Both are pitched like the famous line from Monty Python’s “knights who say ‘nee’” bit, starting high and ending low.  For a little refresher, here’s the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIV4poUZAQo.

December 16 2010 | Tea Pronunciation | No Comments »

Chinese Tea Pronunciation: “Oolong Tea”

In this edition of our guide to the proper pronunciation of Chinese tea terms, we address another major tea term for you: “oolong tea“!

乌龙

Meaning: The first character on it’s own means “raven” or “crow”,and the second means “dragon”. Together they represent the term for a most-beloved category of teas: oolongs!

Pronunciation: The pronunciation of “乌”  is similar to the first part of the Chinese term for pu-erh (“普” ), except without the “p” sound at the beginning. The intonation is high and flat. The second word is pronounced like the English word “lone”, with an “-ng” sound at the end. And, like many of the terms we’ve reviewed thus far, the second word rises in pitch like the end of a question in English.

By now, we’ve covered the pronunciation of nearly all of the most fundamental Chinese tea terms!  Next up: jasmine tea!

December 09 2010 | Tea Pronunciation | No Comments »

Chinese Tea Pronunciation: “Pu-Erh Tea”

We’re taking things to the next level with this edition of our pronunciation guide to Chinese tea terms, moving on to the term for pu-erh!

普洱

Meaning: These two characters together mean pu-erh tea.  The “普” character means “general” or “universal”, while the “洱” character represents the name of a lake in the Yunnan province in Southern China.  Together, these two characters stand for the region in which pu-erh tea is produced.  At Arbor Teas, we’ve assembled an nice little selection of organic pu-erh teas from the Yunnan province for the adventurous to try.

Pronunciation: The first character is pronounced “pu”, just as it’s written in English, with the pitch rising at the end of the word similar to a question in English. Then, the second character is pronouced like the first two letters of the word “army”, its intonation being lower than the final pitch of the first syllable.

By now, you’ve certainly impressed the pants off of your afternoon tea guests with your growing knowledge of Chinese tea pronunciation!  Stay tuned for our next installment, “oolong tea“.

December 02 2010 | Tea Pronunciation | 2 Comments »

Chinese Tea Pronunciation: “Black Tea”

In this edition of our guide to the proper pronunciation of Chinese tea terms, we give you another fundamental tea term: “black tea“!

红茶

Meaning: Just like the Chinese term for “green tea“, by adding another character before “chá” we arrive at the Chinese term for “black tea”! Although the literal meaning of this term is actually “red tea”, it refers to what English speakers call “black tea”, and should not be confused with rooibos, which is often mistakenly referred to as “red tea”.

Pronunciation: This term is pronounced “hongchá.”  Since many of us have the affliction of a Mid-Western accent, we should take extra care on this first part “hong.” The vowel should be pronounced as though we were saying the word “hoe”, then closing it off with the -ng.  The tonality for this term is actually just a repetition of the rising tone twice.  The “hong” part should sound like a question, as should the “cha” part.

Now you’ve got the Chinese pronunciation of three essential tea terms under your belt!  Stay tuned for our next installment, “pu-erh tea“.

November 12 2010 | Tea Pronunciation | No Comments »

Chinese Tea Pronunciation: “Green Tea”

In this edition of our guide to the proper pronunciation of Chinese tea terms, we give you another basic, albeit very important, term: “green tea“!

绿茶

Meaning: If you saw our first installment in this pronunciation series, the second part of this word should seem familiar to you! It is “chá” from before, the word for tea. By adding another character before “chá,” we arrive at the term “green tea,” which is the most commonly imbibed type of tea in China!

Pronunciation: Together the term for green tea is “lü chá.” The pronunciation of the first character is a little tricky.  Technically, it is written as “lü” and pronounced as a combination of the sounds “lee” and “loo,” in a manner sort of like the German umlaut.   The tonality for this is somewhat more difficult as well.  Where “chá” started low in pitch and moved higher, like a question, “lü” moves from high to low in pitch.  It is sort of the reverse of the tonality for “chá.”

Alright, now head out to your favorite cafe and practice what you’ve learned over a nice pot of lü chá, and get ready for our next installment, “black tea“!

November 05 2010 | Tea Pronunciation | 1 Comment »

Your Guide to Chinese Tea Terminology!

In many of our previous posts, and throughout our website, we’ve taken pains to define various tea terms. Occasionally, we’ve also tried to convey the proper pronunciation of key tea terminology, but now we’re taking it to a whole new level!  With each installment in this new series, we’re going to give you a brief lesson on the correct pronunciation of basic tea terms in the tongue of tea’s motherland, Mandarin Chinese!

Many of you may already know this, but the Chinese language relies heavily on tonality.  If the tone of a word is incorrect, it could be unintelligible to a Chinese speaker or its meaning could be dramatically altered.  With this in mind, we’ve done our best to guide you down the path to perfect pronunciation of Chinese tea terms!  For our first installment, we’ll start with the basics: “tea”!

Meaning: This is the character that signifies the general term for “tea.”  This is the most important character you will learn, because all the other characters will often build off this one.

Pronunciation: This character is pronounced “chá” with a rising tone.  This rising tone is akin to the change in pitch that occurs at the end of a sentence when we ask a question in English.  Simply, your pitch starts low and gets higher at the end of the word.

Okay, now give it a try, and get ready for our next installment, “green tea“!

October 30 2010 | Tea Pronunciation | 2 Comments »