So this is the first of what will hopefully be series of examinations into the use of Chinese Language in Infinity. It’s not uncommon to see people struggle with unit names in various battle reports so I thought this might be interesting or useful to some people. I’ll be writing as if the reader has had no exposure to Chinese language, so proficient speakers might find it patronising. During the course of these posts I might point out errors made by Corvus Belli here and there, but it will never be my intent to criticise or ridicule their mistakes. God knows my first attempts to create new words from Chinese were embarrassing and I imagine that there are better resources to learn Chinese from English than there are to Learn Chinese from Spanish.
So with that out of the way, we’ll start with an important one: How is Yu Jing pronounced? And what does it mean for that matter?
Well, the first edition rule book has an answer for both:
“Yu Jing (pronounced “dju tching”) is the powerful Asian power...”
“Renamed as Yu Jing, literally “Jade Capital”…”
Looking over the official website’s page for Yu Jing miniatures it seems they have abandoned “dju” all together.
“Yu Jing (read Yu Ching), the Asiatic giant.”
How accurate is this combination of pronunciation and translation? Well, it’s Corvus Belli’s fluff and back story, so if they want it to be accurate then it’s accurate in universe. If someone’s consciousness can be downloaded to a cybernetic implant, then transferred to a clone body, enough has changed in 175 years that it is not inconceivable that the dominant dialect of Chinese might have changed as well. But it would be no fun if we stopped there, so let’s have a look at how well it aligns with contemporary standard Chinese language, AKA Mandarin AKA 普通话 AKA Pǔtōnghuà.
Yu Jing is written as 玉京.
The 玉 (Yù) character, which means “jade” and features heavily in Yu Jing iconography, is pronounced in Mandarin similar to “yoo”, like “Yoohoo”. Other examples for the same “ù” sound that have been thrown around are the “oo” in Tool and the “u” in Tune.
What about “Jing” (京)? Is it pronounced “tching” or “Ching”?
One interesting thing about hearing people reading a romanised language is that they are often sceptical about words being pronounced how they look. Like the rule book says, Yu Jing means Jade Capital. Běijīng, like ‘2008 Olympic Games Beijing’, means North Capital (北京). It’s the same “Jīng”. Nánjīng (南京), famous for its seafood and brutal occupation by the Japanese in World War 2, means South Capital. Same “Jīng”.
In Cantonese, “京” rhymes with king and starts with a a voiced velar plosive, that is, a “hard G” like “game”. Other dialects tend to produce some variation of “ging”, “gin” “gia” or “gian”, all with hard “G”s. None of these explain the Infinity’s “Ching” romanisation.
In summary, Yu Jing is pronounced today pretty similar to most people’s first instinct.