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  • Chang'e: nice mission, but how do you pronounce the name?
    Posted by Bradley Perrett 1:59 AM on Oct 08, 2010

    Chang'e, the name of a Chinese goddess who lives on the moon, is also the name of of China's series of lunar probes, including Chang'e 2, which is now circling the Moon.

    The problem is that not one in a hundred English speakers would guess how to pronounce it, or even know where to start. Mandarin can be like that.

    The "chang" is pronounced as "chahng," and the "e" as it is in "her." You can stress the first syllable. The apostrophe is there to show that there are two syllables, as you probably guessed.

    Chang'e 2 was launched on Oct. 1 from the space center at Xichang. Pronounce that as "shee-chahng".

    And then some pedants will try to tell you that that's not the exact sound of the Mandarin syllable "xi," and that you have to put the tip of your tongue behind your lower front teeth, and make the consonant sound with friction between the top of your tongue and your palate. Just remind them that your speaking in English, not Mandarin, and that close enough is good enough.

    Tags: China, Chang'e, os99

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