The following tweet by John Pasden, of Sinosplice, caught my attention a week or so ago:
If it’s not immediately apparent what it means then try saying “3Q” out loud, which in Chinese would be “三Q”. The pronunciation really isn’t far off the actual English pronunciation for “thankyou”.
After reading the tweet I wondered if native Chinese speakers actually use tricks like this to pronounce words from English (and other languages) until I saw the following subtitle during an episode of the Japanese cartoon 我們這一家（我们这一家 wǒ mén zhè yī jiā ）which, by the way, has an excellent Chinese dubbed version:
In the above image one of the characters is saying ‘3Q’ (thankyou) in response to the offer to share a portion of chips at a fast food restaurant. Though I think that 3Q is used here as a 流行字, rather than a pronunciation trick to enable a non-English speaker to say ‘thankyou’.
I’d be interested to know of any other similar pronunciation tricks so if you know any please post in the comments below. I know that there’s an image from the Beijing Olympic games that shows the tricks taxi drivers were using to be able to pronounce English words, if anyone has this please post it.