Toronto Zoo finally reveals panda cubs' names, people butcher pronunciation

The Toronto Zoo’s giant panda cubs had their big name reveal this morning and everyone from news reporters to zoo spokespersons butchered the pronunciation of their Chinese names.

Panda cubs named Jia Panpan, which means Canadian Hope, and Jia Yueyue, which means Canadian Joy

The Toronto Zoo's panda bears get new names 0:34

What's in a name?

Or more to the point, what's in the pronunciation of a name, especially when it belongs to a panda?

The world found out the names of the Toronto Zoo's giant panda cubs on Monday, as they made their official debut almost six months after they were born.

The male cub is named Jia Panpan (meaning Canadian Hope), and his sister is Jia Yueyue (Canadian Joy)

Naturally, everyone from news reporters to zoo spokespersons butchered the pronunciation of their Chinese names. 

So, how do you pronounce the names?

The zoo finally revealed the names of the twin panda cubs. Jia Panpan (meaning Canadian Hope) is the male cub, and his sister is Jia Yueyue (Canadian Joy). (David Donnelly/CBC)

According to CBC radio producer Lu Zhou, the easiest pronunciation for those unfamiliar with Chinese:

  • Jia Panpan 加 盼 盼 is pronounced "GEE-YA pan-pan"
  • Jia Yueyue 加 悦 悦is pronounced "GEE-YA YOU-eh YOU-eh"

"People put so much thought into the names. It has such deep meaning to everyone who has come up with it," Zhou said. "There is a nuanced subtlety that is very important for us to capture."

The Toronto Zoo also has an audio recording of the correct pronunciation of the names on its website. 

The cubs marked their 100th day in January and are now considered to have survived their infancy. (David Donnelly/CBC)


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