«Chiaomi», «Shiaomí», «Juagüei», «Jauei» ... You are probably used to hearing all the possible variants of the pronunciation of the two best known Chinese phone brands in Europe and Latin America, that is, if one is a small observer will realize that in their close environment, in terms of pronunciation, everyone has their own style.
What started out as a mundane relationship between friends (in fact it is, because we make fun of each other), has ended up becoming a real unknown for linguistic perfectionists and various onlookers. So, so that you can boast of being "a person of the world" at the next family reunion, we will resolve, once and for all, the debate on how the hell can we pronounce Xiaomi and Huawei correctly.
How do you pronounce Xiaomi?
First you need to know that even without any knowledge of the Confucian language, we can we get much closer than you think to a more than correct pronunciation of the Asian brand par excellence (excuse in advance all the qualified philologists who are currently putting their hands to their heads).
In any case, to reveal the unknown, we have the help, no more and no less, of the Hugo Barra himself, who was the international vice president of Xiaomi between 2013 and 2017. In this video we can see him during an event held in India in 2015 in which he explained the correct way to pronounce the brand:
There are two components: the first is the sound and the second is the tone. If you are only interested in sound, it will be enough: it's “Xiao-mi”. However, if you want to pronounce it correctly, you have to enter the entire Chinese language. There are two syllables: "xiao", which means "small", and "mi", which means "rice". They both have a lower third tone in Chinese, so it's basically "xiao" and then a second syllable that becomes a third tone. Basically it is "xiao-mi". If you want to be simple, think about «show me the money», then «Xiaomi».
Despite the fact that the explanation is quite clear, it should be noted that Hugo Barra is Brazilian, in addition to the fact that there is no evidence that he was fluent in Chinese during his time at Xiaomi, which is quite concerning as far as the matter here is concerned. it concerns us. In any case and for safety, in this other instructional video you can appreciate in a much more definitive way how to pronounce Xiaomi correctly:
As you can see, it fits quite well with Barra's previous explanation. It's not that hard is it?
How do you pronounce Huawei?
Along with Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo, Huawei is one of the most popular Chinese brands in the West. Obviously its pronunciation it is not phonetic at all, as if Vivo and Oppo were. Therefore, it is another «Xiaomi case» to which we will shed some light.
If we stick to the official and corporate explanations and let's investigate a bit on YouTube, we will see that Huawei did not want to miss the opportunity to turn a recurring doubt into a great marketing opportunity. With almost one million reproductions accumulated, in 2012 a piece was marked on the correct pronunciation of the brand, a solid first stone of what would be its subsequent (and for now unstoppable) international expansion:
Don't let funk music distract you from the fact that virtually no American had a clue how to pronounce Huawei. Not only that, but only 6 years ago some Yankees thought Huawei was in the flower or airline business. Either way, let's take a few seconds to appreciate how times have changed. And if not, tell Gal Gadot.
Returning to the topic, the presenter of the spot tries to emphasize that the correct pronunciation of Huawei it is something like the union of "Wha" and "way" (pronounced "uei"). Therefore, it would be something like "Ua-uei", although the first syllable ("Ua") may begin with a soft fricative (like a very soft note).
Finally, it should be noted that, while the name of Xiaomi comes from the union of berry di rice and Mobile Internet (despite Hugo Barra saying otherwise in the aforementioned video), Huawei's name could be translated directly as splendid or magnificent act. So, let's hope your pronunciation is like this from now on: gorgeous.