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HomeCultureWhat’s in a Name? Genghis vs Chinggis

What’s in a Name? Genghis vs Chinggis

By Jack Wilson

The very name “Genghis Khan” is one that immediately brings to mind images of a great conqueror. But just as with most aspects of his life, the story of his name is not so simply told. Here, we’re going to have a look at the meaning, and transmission, of the name of Genghis; or as it’s rendered in Mongolian, Chinggis Khan.

As you may have gathered, Genghis as it’s most commonly said in English sounds a far cry from Chinggis; that’s because instead of “gayn-ghis,” it should be pronounced something like Jinggis. Indeed, most European languages do this properly; in German, the name is rendered as Dschinghis Khan. It also was the name of a popular Eurovision band (and their eponymous single) from the late 1970s. Additionally, khan in Mongolian is pronounced more han. Genghis Khan should, then, if one was to stress authenticity, be pronounced as Chinggis Han. As Persian and Arabic sources render the name closer to…

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