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How is one supposed to pronounce the name of Chinese NBA prospect Yi Jianliang? In my experience, Chinese words are rarely as straightforward as they seem. Yao Ming's monicker seems to have been cleverly designed to be easy on the Western reader's tongue, but the future holds difficult dipthongs. Assigned to: The Atlantic's man in China, James Fallows himsef, whose cover story is on newstands now, leaving him no excuse to avoid important hoops-related issues.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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