The difference between qipao and cheongsam « The Pankou cheongsam pronunciation
The difference between qipao and cheongsam « The Pankou cheongsam pronunciation
For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of dialects – they are basically local variations of a single language. In the case of Chinese, all dialects share a common written form, but pronunciations vary wildly – it is no exaggeration to say that many southern dialects sound like completely different languages. Names for things can also be quite different depending on the dialect. As I am personally a mandarin speaker born in mainland China, I favour the name qipao. For me, it is a more relevant name for today. Mandarin is the official language of Chinese people today, and I feel that using the mandarin name somehow pays respect to this choice. But more than that, there is a robust – and once you get to know it, reasonably simple – romanization system called pinyin which has been adopted for mandarin, allowing words to be easily and systematically translated into English, without the confusing idiosyncracies which existed for Cantonese words. Before I start to explain their differences, a basic guide to how you say the words – Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * So why? Basically, it all comes back to the fact that different dialects exist in different parts of China, and the dominance of the dialects have ebbed and flowed through history in different parts of the world. Yes… Chinese names can be confusing. Many are difficult to pronounce, some are spelt funny, and there are almost always several different versions, sometimes bearing little resemblance to each other. Even when there exists only a single name, there might be a few different spellings – for example, the former first lady of the Republic of China, an extraordinary  woman who also brought the qipao to international fame – 宋美龄, is known interchangeably as Soong May-ling and Song Mei-ling, or some combination of both. But really at the end of the day, both words are used quite interchangeably and both widely understood. So… I guess take your pick! Today, when you say the word “cheongsam” in Cantonese, cheongsam pronunciation it is generally understood to refer to qipao, and not the men’s shirt. Cheongsam literally means a long shirt, and most accurately describes the loose fitting long garment worn by Chinese men in the early 1900s. In fact, in mandarin, the word refers to only the male long shirt. These shirts though are anatomically almost identical to qipaos, with the exception of a looser shape. This is perhaps why the Cantonese retained the same word for also the female qipao. Qipao is mandarin, and literally means the “flag robe”, or “banner robe”. The Manchurians who ruled the last imperial dynasty of China, the Qing dynasty, were also known as Banner People . This name is a reference to the Manchu robe that they introduced, which over time evolved into the modern day dress . The majority of early day emigrants to the West were from Guangdong and spoke Cantonese. This, combined with the fact that Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong provided more open access to foreigners as a British colony in the early 1900s, meant Cantonese was the de-facto Chinese language known internationally. Cantonese pronounciation was adopted into English for many things, including Cheongsam .
So, what is the difference between qipao and cheongsam? If you are reading this blog, then chances are you would have seen at least one of these words before, or maybe both, thrown around here and there. And you may have tried to do a search for one, gotten some pictures returned to you which look just like what you were searching for, but then so does a search for the other one…  now you’re really confused. Well, hopefully I can help to clear all that up here. Mandarin was chosen as the official language of China in 1911, cheongsam definition in chinese The difference between qipao and cheongsam « The Pankou cheongsam pronunciation
The difference between qipao and cheongsam « The Pankou cheongsam pronunciation