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6

Yes, there are rules - it is not irregular at all. The two different pronunciations of 阿 actually reflect different usages. The original Old Chinese pronunciation of ē is for using the character as a verb or noun, which is what the character 阿 originally meant. In contrast, the later pronunciation of ā emerged as a particle with completely different ...


4

'e' is the older pronunciation and is used to reflect the older pronunciation in some particular words (usually more formal words), such as 阿胶 (ē jiāo, some animal gelatin), 阿房宫(ē páng gōng -- notice that 房 is pronounced páng instead of fáng), 阿谀奉承. 'a' is the modern and default pronunciation, used in translation of foreign names (e.g., Algebria - 阿尔及利亚) as ...



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