阿札爾稱蔡英文為習總統?正解曝光網友驚:竟是這字 |Xi or Tsai? US Health Secretary mispronounces President Tsai’s name

HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks to President Tsai Ing-wen on Aug. 10, 2020. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

【看CP學英文】大多數外國人稱呼華人同事、朋友的中文名字時,難免會碰到發音障礙,更何況政治領袖在國際交涉的正式場合中,氣氛緊繃的情況下,發音難免有誤。而美國衛生部長阿札爾(Alex Azar)週一於台北會面總統蔡英文,場面隆重正式,或許他也碰上發音困難,因而導致誤會。

Most foreigners struggle to pronounce the names of Chinese colleagues and friends, not to mention political leaders who often tread a tightrope while dealing with difficult situations. 

That’s probably the problem U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar encountered on Monday when he met President Tsai Ing-Wen in Taipei

阿札爾於昨日記者會上以「今天非常感謝蔡總統歡迎我來到台灣」開始致詞。

“Thank you very much, ‘Presidency’ for welcoming me to Taiwan today,” he said

「本人今天非常榮幸能夠來到這裡傳達川普總統與台灣的強力友誼以及支持」阿札爾繼續對著坐在一旁點頭的蔡英文總統說。

“It’s a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump,” he added while President Tsai Ing-wen was quietly nodding. 

然而阿札爾似乎沒發現他說的字 “presidency”的發音,和一直視台灣為中國的領土的對岸總統「習總統」(“President Xi”)雷同。所幸,阿札爾在隨後的致詞中清楚地說出「蔡」的發音。

Azar didn’t realize that he had made a gaffe, however, as ‘pres·i·den·cy’ sounds like a nod to President Xi Jinping who considers Taiwan as China’s territory and has vowed to take it over one day.

Luckily, the U.S. official pronounced her name clearly a few sentences later. 

國民黨對此非常不滿,表示感到非常錯愕,強調中華民國總統為「蔡」總統而非「習」總統,並呼籲總統府應嚴正向美方抗議。

Still, the members’ opposition Kuomintang quickly jumped on the gaffe and expressed their dismay and disapproval, before reminding the U.S. envoy to clearly state that the last name of the president of the Republic of China is Tsai and not Xi. 

「習」在英文的發音類似「綿羊」”sheep”的開頭。發出這個音需要將舌頭擺在下排牙齒後方才能發出「習」的音。

The latter begins with X which sounds like “shee” in “sheep” in English, meaning that you should place your tongue on the back of your lower front teeth to pronounce the letter properly: President “Sh.ee” for President Xi. 

然而,「蔡」英文拼音的前部分「 Ts」就是這個字母發音,後面的 「ai」是如英文「like」的 「i」音。

The former, on the other hand, begins with Ts, which sounds exactly like “t·s” in English, and ends with “ai” which has the same pronunciation as i in “like.” 

阿札爾的演說稿上蔡英文的名字的確是以「ts-ai」拼法寫出,駐美國台北經濟文化代表處對此事件不予評論。

The transcript of Azar’s speech spelled Tsai’s name as “ts-eye,” according to a document released by the American Institute in Taiwan which declined to comment. 

發音誤會引起網友正反不一的反應,部分網友表示他的發音聽起來像「習總統」,也有另一派網友認為衛生部長是說「總統職位」(presidency) 而非習總統。

Reactions on social media were mixed, with some netizens saying his pronunciation sounded like President Xi’s, while others suggested it could be the word for the presidency.

事實上,應是阿札爾在演說時較為緊繃、壓力大,原本應稱「蔡總統」,卻唸成「總統職位」(Presidency),意外地造成如此尷尬的誤會。

The truth is that the stress of the public speech might have led the U.S. official to say “presidency” instead of President Tsai, making an opening statement that accidentally sounded like a “political statement with a smile.”