Well, you’re not the only one.
English speakers will likely struggle with the pronunciation of “qi.” There’s nothing in English that sounds like it, and as a result, you’ll probably say “key” instead.
I’ll try my best to explain how Li Ziqi’s name is pronounced in Chinese:
- Lǐ (李) is easy. It sounds just like Lee, except in Mandarin Chinese, it is the third tone: Lǐ. If you haven’t mastered the four tones in Chinese yet, you’ll be just fine by pronouncing it as Lee.
- Zǐ (子) is a bit harder. It’s pronounced like the last part of Seeds. It can have the third tone, or no tone at all, depending on how fast you say it.
- Qī (柒) is the most difficult part. There simply isn’t a phonetic letter or word in English that resembles its true pronunciation in Chinese. For most Americans, the closest would be “chi-” as in chin.
So put it all together, you can pronounce Li Ziqi as Lee-Zi-Chi.
There you have it. If you say Lee-Zi-Chi to a group of Chinese people, they’ll most likely understand whom you’re talking about: 李子柒。
Other than pronunciation, Li Ziqi’s spelling is also confusing to many people. So far we’ve seen numerous variations all over the place.
First of all, her team often uses “liziqi” on the internet. This makes sense because user names typically don’t allow spaces.
Secondly, some people uses “Ziqi Li” as her name. This is technically correct because in the West, you put first name (Ziqi) in front of last name (Li). But in China, it’s the opposite. So the correct spelling is Li Ziqi.
Lastly, web users vaguely remember her name so they search it based on an approximate pronunciation, such as:
- Li Ziqui
- Li Ciqi
- Liz qi
- Lizi Qi
These are just some examples we’ve seen that brought people to this website, and there’re a lot more.