Pronounce: Wen Jiabao (温家宝 Wēn Jiābǎo) Premier of the People's Republic of China

Wen is pronounced "wun" like the English words "won" and "one." It rhymes with "bun." (It is not pronounced to rhyme with "Ben.")

Jia has a diphthong "ia" that is pronounced like the "ia" in "poniard" or "Christian" -- neither "Christ-ee-an" nor "Christ-an," but "Christyan" and so "jia" might be written as "jya." 

Bao has a diphthong "ao" that is pronounced like the "ow" "how."

Listen

Picture of mouthparts involved in making j/q/x sounds.

Technically, the "ji" sound is slightly different from the English "ji" sound of words such as "jibberish." In most regional variations of English, the "ji" sound is made with the tip of the tongue briefly touching the ridge behind the upper front teeth. In Chinese, the tip of the tongue is kept down, out of the airflow, and the surface of the curved tongue, about a finger's width behind the tip of the tongue, is used instead. In the drawing above, the arrow points at the region where the tongue briefly touches the top of the mouth and then pulls back slightly.

The "ji" sound is definitely not 
a "zh" sound.  (The name of China's capital, Beijing, is not properly pronounced as "bay zhzhzhing" as is the habit of some announcers on radio and television.)  


Pronounce:  Hu Jintao (胡錦濤 Hú Jǐntāo) President of the People's Republic of China
"Hu" is pronounced like the "hoo" in "Hoover." "Jin" is pronounced much like the "jin" sound of "cotton gin." "Tao" sounds like the beginning of "towel."
 Picture of mouthparts involved in making j/q/x sounds.
Technically, the "ji" sound is slightly different from the English "ji" sound of words such as "jiffy." In most regional variations of English, the "ji" sound is made with the tip of the tongue briefly touching the ridge behind the upper front teeth. In Chinese, the tip of the tongue is kept down, out of the airflow, and the surface of the curved tongue, about a finger's width behind the tip of the tongue, is used instead. In the drawing above, the arrow points at the region where the tongue briefly touches the top of the mouth and then pulls back slightly. The "ji" sound is definitely not a "zh" sound. (The name of China's capital, Beijing, is not properly pronounced as "bay zhzhzhing" as is the habit of some announcers on radio and television.) The "in" in "jin" is pronounced somewhere between the "in" in "gin" and the "ea" in "Jean." The "ao" in "Tao" is pronounced like the "ow" in Dow-Jones. So "tao" sounds like the beginning of "towel." Technically, initial "t" sounds in standard Mandarin are produced with the tip of the tongue against the top front teeth, not slightly behind that point as "t" is commonly pronounced in English.

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