Pronunciation: 谁 (shei2 / shui2)

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Agarina, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Agarina Member

    Oklahoma, U.S.
    United States; English
  2. kareno999 Senior Member

    Columbus, OH
    As for 谁, "shui" is more formal than "shei". Both are used quite often in conversation. shei is never used in formal speech.
  3. kkmp

    kkmp Member

    Middle Earth, Mandarin
    As for 谁,both shuí and shéi are official pronunciations. Shuí is more often used but shéi is heard frequently in pop songs.
  4. kareno999 Senior Member

    Columbus, OH
    Never heard it that way.
    The only pronunciation taught in school in shui.
  5. Mugi Senior Member

    NZ English
    "Shui2" and "shei2" are both official pronunciations for 谁 in Modern Standard Chinese, as practically any dictionary will attest. "Shui2" is the literary pronunciation, "shei2" the colloquial pronunciation. Hence, contrary to a comment from another poster, "shei2" is by far the more common pronunciation in native Mandarin speaking areas (almost to the total exclusion of "shui2" in places like Beijing). As the colloquial pronunciation, you'll note that "shei2" is easier to pronounce than "shui2."
  6. anialuo Senior Member


    is there any difference between the two forms of pronounciation of 谁: shui/shei?
    Maybe some local bias?
    Thanks in advance!
  7. Jialin New Member

    the pronounciation of "shei" is correct, while "shui" is also used since someone are not able to pronounciate "shei" appropriately and "shui" is similar to their dialects...
  8. sunnyjay Member

    just say shui
  9. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    the pronounciation of "shui" is correct, while "shei" is also used since someone are not able to pronounciate "shui" appropriately and "shei" is similar to their dialects...

    In standard Mandarin, "ui" = "uei". The "u" is sometimes lost since it would be easier to pronounce.
    Anyway, "shei" is perfect acceptable.
  10. BODYholic Senior Member

    Chinese Cantonese
    I was taught 'shui' in school but that was a long time ago. I also believe most Chinese in my country pronounce likewise. But I find the sound 'shui' very coarse for the ears. Perhaps, people here tend to mispronounce it as 'sui2'. I have since switched to the other sound, 'shei'. Of course, this is entirely my personal preference.

    In any case, both sounds can be found in most good dictionaries and they don't distinguish one from the other.谁/1314249

    You may, however, try to read this "随谁?". :D
  11. xiaoxue Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    Both are right. (You can type in either way to get a 谁.)
    But if you live in the northen part you will hear "shei" most of the time in daily conversations.

    Originally, it was promonced as "shui", but pronunciation changes sometimes unnoticibally. (Actually, this happens in all languages)
    Today, "shui" sounds a little bit "antique", especially when you use 谁 in a simply way, like "他是谁".
    However, it sounds natural to pronounce "shui" in idioms, since idioms, to some extend, are "antiques" left up to today. (I guess~)

    An interesting example.
    I say "sui2shei2?":)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2014
  12. Uncle Shin New Member

    Chinese mandarin
    Anyway, most of chinese people pronounce "谁" as "shei2".
  13. zhinianlove New Member

    "shei" is the official and literary pronounce of "谁". "shui" is often pronounced in old poems.
  14. aggeloskina New Member

    Chinese Mandarin
    i haven't heard anyone pronounced "shui" in my life, it's always "shei". but we learnt shui at school.
  15. flenci New Member

    Chinese 汉语
    shei is the pronounciation in Beijing, shui is textbook way and we have to remember that for exams...
  16. bamboobanga

    bamboobanga Senior Member

    san francisco
    chinese mandarin
    formally it should be shui2, but in daily life everyone pronounces shei2.
  17. Olivia2013 New Member

    China - Chinese
    In a word, shei, de and le are more popular than shui, di, liao.
    Let' s say the difference one by one:
    1. shui is going to be forgotten except using for the infrequent surname;
    2. di is supposed to use in phrases, such as "mu di(目的) mu di di 目的地) di que(的确)";
    3. liao is in the same usage as di, such as "liao jie(了解), zhi liao(知了--the name of a kind of insect)".
    More words for "谁": please just pronounce it as shei, you won' t be wrong and it is also easy to speak for a language learner.
  18. goodatchinese Member

    If you are not tring to pass some advanced Mandarin test on national-level, which designed for the teachers, TV and radio host / hostess. Always use "shei2".If you are, "shui2" will be a plus while "shei2" is OK.
  19. ronnie osullivan New Member

    i've rarely,even never, heard people pronounced it as 'shui'.
  20. mancoffee New Member

  21. annie21 Senior Member

    In the past, we pronounced it shui. But as time goes by, more and more people pronounce shei, nowadays, I hardly heard people say shui. I pronounce it shei. So it's a change of the pronounciation.
  22. Rethliopuks Member

    Shenzhen, PRC
    I think I have to clarify...
    Indeed shei2 is colloquial(developed from shui2) and shui2 is formal, and usually people don't use shui2, but it does not mean that shui2 is obsolete. They should be used accordingly. That is, to speak properly you should pronounce it as shui2 in almost all archaic/serious/formal/literature situations, as shui2 itself brings a sense of such, and shei2 in all conversational/colloquial situations. Mind that "converstional" includes some formal conversations.
    For example:
    凭谁问,廉颇老矣,尚能饭否。 This is from an ancient poem, so shui2 should be used.
    谁买了那盒笔?This is from a colloquial conversation so shei2 should be used.
  23. ridgemao

    ridgemao Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese

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