How To Pronounce Tao Te Ching
The book title of Tao Te Ching has being translated in various ways. Dao De Jing, Tao Te King, and so on and so forth. There are also people who name the book The Way, based on the meaning of the word Tao.
Which is the most appropriate?
When Tao Te Ching was introduced to the world outside China more than 200 years ago, the notation systems for the Chinese language were in their infancy. So when transliteration was done, it depended very much on how the translator interpreted the sound. The end result can be quite different from the hanyu pinyin version that has become the standard notation today.
It also depended on the person the translator met. There are hundreds of Chinese dialects. So if the person did not pronounce the words in the standard Mandarin — which has become the common standard today, the sound can again be very different.
Whatever version of the translation you use, let’s go back to the hanyu pinyin versions that is the standard today. Even if you continue to use the non-hanyu pinyin version, knowing the standard can definitely reduce the level of confusion.
Let’s find out how Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) is pronounced in the Standard Mandarin.