COMPARE this province: 陕西 [shǎnxī] ->西安 [xī'ān] - Shaanxi province (capital: Xi'An) WITH the similarly-named province: 山西 [shānxī] -> 太原 (tai4yuan2) - Shanxi Province (capital: Taiyuan) Note that the pinyin is the same, 'shanxi', therefore the spelling is different in English, with an added a for the province further West. Why? I like to think the 3rd tone creates a longer 'ah' sound, almost sounding like two syllables to a native English speaker. by chinasteve

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