Tag Archives: spelling

A little rant about spellings

originally written Jan 2, 2016

A while back I spent a few years reading a lot of classics from China and India, and trying to figure out how to pronounce things. I’m not saying I was successful or anything, but I noticed a few things along the way.

The nice thing about transliterations (Western alphabet equivalents) is they tend to be fairly consistent.
• In China (pinyin), a hard ‘c’ is always spelled in English with a ‘k’. In India, a hard ‘c’ is always spelled in English with a ‘k’. In the West, not so much.
• In China, a soft ‘c’ is always spelled in English with an ‘s’. In India, a soft ‘c’ is always spelled in English with an ‘s’. In the West, not so much.
• In China, ‘c’ is pronounced ‘ts’ as in tsar. They use ‘ch’ for a soft ‘ch’ as in ‘church’. (Also, the Chinese ‘q’ is pronounced ‘chyu’ or something like that.) In India, ‘c’ is pronounced ‘ch’ as in ‘church’. In the West, it could be anything. Or at least it seems that way.
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