The Winter Olympics 2018 are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. You can expect to read and hear that word a lot during the Olympic games. However, how is Pyeongchang pronounced, exactly? It turns out that a lot of people say the word wrong.
This pronunciation video says the word is pronounced, roughly, as “pyun-chung,” (in some variations, it almost sounds like “pyun-tung” and not “pyaaaawng-chaaang.” Just say “uh” for each word instead of “aw” and “ayyy” and you will be closer.
Here’s another pronunciation video from author James Harbeck that includes guidance for other Korean words too:
Oklahoma News 4 reports that “how do pronounce Pyeongchang” has trended online, so the TV station asked a friend from South Korea how to say the word. You can listen to her response here, but, as the station, notes, pronouncing the city like the restaurant “PF Chang’s” is wrong. San Diego 7 has also published a video pronunciation guide of words you might to say when talking about the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The New York Business Journal reports that even NBC hasn’t been sure how to pronounce the word, writing, “How do you pronounce the 2018 Winter Olympics host city Pyeongchang? The one place you didn’t hear a consistent answer was NBC’s programming on Nov. 1, when the network, its affiliates and cable platforms celebrated the 100 Days Out milestone.”
According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, Hangul is the name of the “alphabetic system used for writing the Korean language. The system, known as Chosŏn muntcha in North Korea, consists of 24 letters (originally 28), including 14 consonants and 10 vowels.” According to Brittanica, “The consonant characters are formed with curved or angled lines. The vowels are composed of vertical or horizontal straight lines together with short lines on either side of the main line.”
By the way, Pyeongchang is not a name of a city. It’s the name of a county that is located about 110 miles east of Seoul, which is the capitol of South Korea. It’s a good spot for the Winter Olympics because of its frigid temperatures. “With a population of 6,162 people, Daegwallyeong-myeon is the main township in the area” and its cold temperatures are famous in its home country, the Sun reports. According to the Sun, the hosts of the games are two ski resorts in the county that are named Alpensia and Yongpyong.
How far will the Olympic games be from North Korea? (And, no, Pyeongchang is not the same as Pyongyang). According to CNN, Pyeongchang is located “about 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone that separated North and South Korea.” It takes about an hour and a half to travel by train between Pyeongchang and the South Korean capitol, according to CNN.
The opening ceremonies were scheduled for Friday, February 9, 2018. By one measurement, according to Accuweather, Pyeongchang is the coldest spot on the planet. The site reports that Pyeongchang is highly regarded as spot for skiing and “is located 700 meters (2,296 feet) above sea level.” The area goes by the motto, “Happy 700.”
The area is located in a mountainous region that is affected by Siberian winds, according to BBC, which reports that some athletes were concerned about the frigid temps.