Chinese seem to have no problem pronouncing Wi-Fi. Wi has a similar Chinese pronunciation with pinyin: wai.

This got me wondering, is there any “fai” (zy: ㄈㄞ) pronunciation record in Mandarin?

  • AFAIK, no. Maybe some day the experts will put it in the "西文字母开头的词语" list of 现代汉语词典. – Stan Oct 31 '15 at 8:31
  • Or 高忠 will be used, just as 高清 has replaced HD. – user4452 Oct 31 '15 at 10:28
  • This doesn't answer your question, but some of the native speakers in Taiwan can give good approximation of the proper pronunciation by using 注音. When I was in elementary school, teachers would use 注音 to help us learn the English pronunciation. However, you can see how this method fall short in some of the cases where there is no such approximation, such as the trilled r. So Fi in Wi-Fi is easily pronounced by imitating ㄈㄞˋ – RexYuan Nov 2 '15 at 0:50

Not in standard Mandarin, no.

But there are regions in the South where Mandarin phonetics are not rendered standardly, and Standard hu- (also sometimes ku-) tends to be pronounced f-. In Western Fújiàn I often heard huàidàn 壞蛋 'bad person, asshole, etc.' pronounced as though the Pinyin were fàitàn. But I wouldn't count on using that to write "WiFi".

An example of regional f- for Mandarin k- appears in New York's Chinatown, where Forsyth Street is translated Kēxījiē 科西街, because the community was completely Cantonese-speaking at one time. You can see it on the street signs.


Short answer is no. To say WiFi, you would say 無線上網 (wireless internet access).

Otherwise, there's no "Fai" sound in Mandarin. They have it in Cantonese though.

快 = kuai (mandarin) / fai (cantonese) = fast


According to This wikipdia article, the consonant /f/ didn't appear until late middle Chinese, when it evolved from bilabial stops when followed by a glide /j/ or /w/. However, /ai/ has no glide so /fai/ couldn't possibly ever be evolved.

  • are you saying that, likewise, since /an/ has no glide, /fan/ couldn't possibly ever have evolved? – flow Nov 9 '15 at 12:00

fai is not a pronunciation in mandarin, in fact we just read wifi as the English pronunciation, which is similar to wai-fai

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