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Thread: Genghis pronunciations

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    Default Genghis pronunciations

    This is especially addressed to odyarb, who might have a better idea than the others how to answer this question.

    How does one pronounce Genghis' names in Mongolian? Genghis is obviously not the closest transliteration, but how close is Chinggis? How about Temujin? The pinyinisation of that is Tiemuzhen, just as the pinyin for Genghis Khan is Chengjishi Han (I think). Using British English, or perhaps pinyin, what would be the closest trandliteration of his Mongolian names?

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    Senior Member The Khan's Avatar
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    The mongolian to english translation of his name should be Chinggis

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    Senior Member odbayarb2000's Avatar
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    Yes, The Khan is right, Mongolian to English transliteration would be Chinggis.

    But you should note several factors

    1. Ancient (13th century) Mongolian language differs from that of today.
    2. The classical Mongolian script does not suit well with the spoken language of Mongols. So written words and spoken languages are bit different.

    Today, All Mongolians agree with the term "Chinggis Khaan"[Чингис Хаан] . Though I am not really sure of its accuracy. Though the spoken language brought the term "Chinggis Khaan", written sources are bit different. Since they were written in The classical Mongolian script which is not actually Mongolian thing. It's derived from Uyghur alphabet and not well suited with Mongolian language. I should acknowledge.

    But the term 'Genghis' is very far from the truth. It should be changed.

    For his real name, "Temujin" or "Тэмүжин" is the accurate one.

    Khaan[Хаан] and Khan[Хан] have different meanings. Khaan refers to Emperor. No one is above him. Khan is equal term of ruler and submits only to "Khaan".


    Chinggis Khaan was first Khan and later become Khaan. Both are them right though, I would still prefer the latter one.

    Is this address your question? or bit long draggy explanation.
    Last edited by odbayarb2000; 02-20-08 at 12:46 PM.
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    odbayarb2000: excellent information.
    忽见柳荫下两个小孩子在哀哀痛哭,瞧模样正是武敦儒、武修文兄弟。郭芙大声叫道:「喂,你们在干甚麽?」武 修文回头见是郭芙,哭道:「我们在哭,你不见麽?」

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    Senior Member odbayarb2000's Avatar
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    I have more information that you might interest.

    The main reason of Mongolian names ended up to be so troublesome is Mongols were illiteracy during raise of Chinggis Khaan (1200 - 1227). There were some trend to adopt Uyghur alphabet prior Chinggis Khaan in western tribes of Mongolia. But not that widely. Chinggis Khaan followed this fashion and declared Uyghur alphabet to be Mongolian script and start to use it.

    Secret History of Mongols is said to be written around 1240-1250 by an anonymous author and probably originally in the Uyghur alphabet , though the surviving manuscripts all derive from a Chinese transliteration and translation of the 14th century. So we, Mongolians don't have original manuscript. By doing transliteration into Chinese script, real Mongolian words extremely diverted. The names of people infected the most.

    Fortunately, those names still remain in Mongolian spoken language. Mongolians still give those names to their children.

    So it turned out that Mongolian Historical figures' names have many different pronunciations.

    I still prefer those names to be based on Mongolian version, since it's original. But it seems none of Mongolian scholars try to consolidate it. They just write things in Mongolian language, no one knows about it other than Mongolians. On the contrary, Western scholars write things based on Chinese sources and widely known.
    Last edited by odbayarb2000; 02-20-08 at 01:35 PM.
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    Thanks for the explanation. I really don't know very much, which is why it's good to be able to ask someone who does.

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    Wink Say what?

    Quote Originally Posted by odbayarb2000 View Post
    Yes, The Khan is right, Mongolian to English transliteration would be Chinggis...

    For his real name, "Temujin" or "Тэмүжин" is the accurate one.

    Khaan[Хаан] and Khan[Хан] have different meanings. Khaan refers to Emperor. No one is above him. Khan is equal term of ruler and submits only to "Khaan".

    Chinggis Khaan was first Khan and later become Khaan. Both are them right though, I would still prefer the latter one.
    I love reading all this detail! But how do you say Khan and Khaan so that they sound different? I should imagine they'd be easily confused, unless one is supposed to say "Kha'an" (almost two separate syllables) for Emperor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Very funny, Ken! I saw The Wrath of Khan already, so I know how Bill Shatner said it. Now how's about someone giving me a not-so-funny answer?

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    Senior Member odbayarb2000's Avatar
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    Well, you are right. I am not good at pronouncing issues in English.
    Khan should pronounced very shortly.
    Khaan or as you said "Kha'an", suppose to drag the "a" sound longer.

    I noticed that from Ken's video, we hear very strong "K" sound . But actual pronunciation should be softer.
    Like Khan should pronounced as Han in Han Chinese.
    Last edited by odbayarb2000; 03-07-08 at 04:07 PM.
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    Default Follow up

    From "Speaking Mongolian"
    [ http://www.koreanhistoryproject.org/Jta/Mo/MoLAN2.htm ]

    One thing that confuses foreigners is the appearance of "double vowels," such as the "aa" in baatar. This only means that the vowel is stressed (accented) - it does not mean you pronounce the vowels as separate syllables such as ba-atar. You put the emphasis on the first syllable rather than the second.

    A tricky sound is the "h" in Romanized Mongolian (often Romanized as "kh"). In the Cyrillic alphabet, this character is written as x and indicates a sound that does not exist in modern English. The sound survived in Old English and in Scottish English ("loch"), and can be found in German, Arabic, Turkish and a number of other modern languages. It sounds like the German pronunciation of "ch" in nacht, a bit like the sound you make when gargling or clearing your throat.

    So I stand corrected; one says kHaaaan (actually sorta like Bill Shatner did in his anguished exclamation in The Wrath of Khan, but with a softer 'kh'), not kHa'an or kHa-an.

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    Senior Member odbayarb2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syzygy View Post
    From "Speaking Mongolian"
    [ http://www.koreanhistoryproject.org/Jta/Mo/MoLAN2.htm ]

    One thing that confuses foreigners is the appearance of "double vowels," such as the "aa" in baatar. This only means that the vowel is stressed (accented) - it does not mean you pronounce the vowels as separate syllables such as ba-atar. You put the emphasis on the first syllable rather than the second.

    A tricky sound is the "h" in Romanized Mongolian (often Romanized as "kh"). In the Cyrillic alphabet, this character is written as x and indicates a sound that does not exist in modern English. The sound survived in Old English and in Scottish English ("loch"), and can be found in German, Arabic, Turkish and a number of other modern languages. It sounds like the German pronunciation of "ch" in nacht, a bit like the sound you make when gargling or clearing your throat.

    So I stand corrected; one says kHaaaan (actually sorta like Bill Shatner did in his anguished exclamation in The Wrath of Khan, but with a softer 'kh'), not kHa'an or kHa-an.
    Thanks for providing excellent source to sort things out. I think your finale statement is quite correct.

    I couldn't explain the pronouncing issues as good as the source did (provided by you).
    Next time I hope I can do better job with help of the site.
    Last edited by odbayarb2000; 03-08-08 at 11:15 PM.
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    Senior Member odbayarb2000's Avatar
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    I made a movie. If you guys eager to hear a native Mongolian pronounce "Chinggis Khaan" and "Temujin" in Modern Mongolian then click on the following link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S83p6vDVgjw
    "Big Hero Linghu kills frogs with the Dugu Nine Swords!


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    Quote Originally Posted by odbayarb2000 View Post
    I made a movie. If you guys eager to hear a native Mongolian pronounce "Chinggis Khaan" and "Temujin" in Modern Mongolian then click on the following link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S83p6vDVgjw
    Now we'll all be walking around muttering those words. Thanks Odbayar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by odbayarb2000 View Post
    I made a movie. If you guys eager to hear a native Mongolian pronounce "Chinggis Khaan" and "Temujin" in Modern Mongolian then click on the following link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S83p6vDVgjw
    Thanks. I always thought it was "Gangus Kaan"
    Due to several complaints, I will stop using the terms "Babe" and "Baby" in reference to our female counterpart. They will now be replaced with "B*tch."

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    Quote Originally Posted by odbayarb2000 View Post
    I made a movie. If you guys eager to hear a native Mongolian pronounce "Chinggis Khaan" and "Temujin" in Modern Mongolian then click on the following link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S83p6vDVgjw
    wow, thanks for all the info!
    ~
    .shu chang.
    Leanna, <3


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