I ran into a book talking about the difference of pronouncing 翁 in Mainland China and Taiwan differently. But it is still confusing to me. My questions are:

What is the difference of pronouncing 翁 in Mainland China and Taiwan?

How to pronounce 翁 in Mainland China and Taiwan?

  • Can you post what that book says about this in your question? I'm unaware that there is a difference. – Semaphore Jun 28 '14 at 13:16
  • 1
    @Semaphore yes there's a minor difference. I feel Taiwanese people pronounce it like wēong; and the mainland people, a "pure" wēng. – Stan Jun 28 '14 at 13:28
  • In Mainland China it is spelled as 'weng', and in Taiwan it is 'wong' – user4457 Jun 28 '14 at 13:36
  • I believe the Pinyin spelling “weng” instead of “ong” is irrelevant to its pronunciation, merely in an attempt to reduce the need of apostrophe ('). – Yang Muye Jun 28 '14 at 14:43

This concerns a mid-back vowel pair of [ɤ]/[o] (in IPA symbol), where [ɤ] is unrounded and [o] rounded. In today's mandarin in China, it's unrounded; in taiwan, it is sometimes rounded and sometimes unrounded, depending on the preceding consonant. If the preceding consonant is labial then pinyin o is the rounded [o], otherwise the unrounded [ɤ]. The Taiwanese pronunciation was also the older mandarin pronunciation and can still be heard in many regions' accents in China, but not in today's standard mandarin any more.


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