When referring to a piece in Chinese chess (Xiangqi), 車 should be pronounced as jū or ㄐㄩ, instead of chē (ㄔㄜ). It is understandable that not every native speaker knows this pronunciation. However, I was surprised to hear professional Xiangqi players call the piece the wrong way. After all, if Xiangqi is their profession, how come that they do not even know how to pronounce the piece correctly?

  • Colloquially, some pronounce 车 as chē though they know the correct pronunciation is jū. This phenomenon occurs on other characters too. E.g. 钴 is gǔ according to dictionaries, but it's often pronounced as gū, even on TV.
    – dan
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 0:28
  • See chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22333/… maybe those pro players are the younger generation that only learned only one pinyin for 车 /chē/
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 4:03
  • Why should they? Is it a requirement? Is there any time penalty if they don't? Is even the very knowledge of Chinese language required? Anyway, dictionaries and Xiangqi boards have something in common: contrasting colors. Some people evidently chose the board.😁 Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 10:37
  • This may be one of the products from the Simplification - eliminate 破音字.
    – r13
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 15:21
  • Many professional Xianqi player can't pronounce "車" correctly? I don't think so, it's a false proposition, in China, even a junior high school student knowns to correctly pronounce "車" in Xianqi.
    – ibamboo
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


Because in 廣韻 (a Chinese rime dictionary from 1000 years ago), 車 has two different pronunciations, 1: kio and 2: chja. As time goes by, 1 becomes ju and 2 becomes che. In ancient Chinese, 1(ju) refers to combat vehicles, 2(che) indicates the means of transport for carrying heavy objects. Although these two different meanings are now included in 2, but the ancient pronunciation is still retained in the Xiangqi pieces 車

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