What romanization system of what language or dialect is this from?
I've seen no other romanization of Mandarin or other Chinese languages or dialects use a final H.

Or may it be just common english-speaking use to avoid being pronounced may-jong?

  • 3
    Mahjong spread to West way before Pinyin, so I think your guess is correct. It's a non-ambiguous English spelling to reproduce the sound.
    – jf328
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 10:24
  • 1
    Mahjong spread to the west slightly before Wade Giles did, and decades before Hanyu Pinyin was created. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 17:21
  • I think only an English* etymologist could possibly have an answer. *: note that "Mahjong" is actually an English word, not Chinese.
    – zypA13510
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 13:48

3 Answers 3


Refer to Mahjong In The West

I think it is just a translation problem.

In the old times, romanisation in Chinese Language like Cantonese Romanisation is not really common, like in this case, Mahjong might be translated from the Wu Dialect or Northern Chinese Language, I'm not sure about that.

You might also refer to this The Mahjong Origin

I hope I did answer your question. :)


It's because the English spelling is based on an old Chinese romanization system called 'Wade-Giles' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wade–Giles) (I think).

  • Where in the article speaks about ah? I can only find eh and ih.
    – Petruza
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 20:07
  • This is not Wade Giles. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 20:22
  • Hmm... maybe not. Maybe it's not a standard romanization system and just arbitrarily chosen spelling.
    – aansible
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 20:23

It's a perfectly normal way of transcribing the long "aahhh" sound into English. In this case it tells us that the game is not mayjong, nor muhjong.

No doctor ever asked you to "Say a." It's always "Say `Ah'."

  • I have never seen a doctor write down what you're supposed to say to open your mouth.
    – Olle Linge
    Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 6:49

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