How do I pronounce your (last and middle) names?

Dr. Kao’s last name rhymes with the animal pictured below, but it’s pronounced with a “g” (not hard “k”) sound.


Kao —> “Gow”

Though she publishes under “Grace Y. Kao,” her full name is “Grace Yia-Hei Kao.”

    Kao (高; pinyin: gāo) – means “high” or “tall,” but it’s just a last name

    Yia ( 雅; pinyin: yǎ) – means “elegant”

    Hei (慧; pinyin: huì) – means “wise” or “knowledgable”

Dr. Kao hasn’t figured out a succinct way to explain how to pronounce her Chinese name correctly so it doesn’t sound like people are calling her Yahweh (the proper name for God in the Hebrew Bible). But since she has only taken one semester’s worth of Mandarin, she never gets offended when people mispronounce her middle name.

If you are curious, you can use any of the Chinese-English dictionaries that are found online, like this one, to learn correct pronunciation.

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