Panyu Lu or Fanyu Lu?

George has a question regarding name of road:

Jian,

For the longest time I have seen people reference PauYu Lu as FanYu LU and vice versa. Some maps and business cards say FanYu Lu and some say PanYu Lu. Why the difference?

George

This is an interesting question, and I believe many foreigners may run into the same situation – people call the same road differently, and inconsistently.

Many Chinese Characters Has Two or more Pronunciations

This is the interesting thing about Chinese characters. Just as many words are with the same pronunciation (exactly the same, not just similar), there are many characters having different pronunciation. They produce different sounds in different contact.

In this case, the Chinese name for the road is:

番禺路

The first character 番 was typically pronounced as Fan, so people call it Fanyu Lu.

However, 番禺 put together is the name of a city in Guangdong – Panyu. In this situation, it should pronounce as Panyu Lu.

That is the reason of the confusion. Since Panyu is not as famous as many other cities, people just pronounce it as Fanyu Lu.

In my opinion, and according to the bus plate, it should be pronounced as Panyu Lu. Although the other pronunciation is also widely used.

4 Comments

  1. it’s probably just a typo, but to clear things up: but panyu 番禺 is a city in guangdong 广东 province, not guangzhou 广州 city.

  2. Law Office of Todd L. Platek

    January 29, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I was just now translating a document, and was unsure of the correct pronunciation. Your post is exactly what I need! Many thanks!

    Todd L. Platek, Esq.

  3. 番禺 is now a big distric in Guangzhou(广州), as Jiading(嘉定) in Shanghai.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *