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Smoothie

how is wu pronounced?

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ananda

the former, but not [wu:], it's [wu] and pronounced with tone 2.

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889

Yes, 无 is second tone, but 屋 is first, 五 is third and 务 is fourth, among just a few wus.

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gao_bo_han

I disagree. I have always thought the emphasis is on the "oo" part of the word as opposed to the "w", and sounds in common speech much more like "ooo" than "woo".

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skylee

Smoothie you have to show us the Chinese character, or at least tell use what the word means, before we could tell you how it is pronounced (see 889's post).

But you need to pronounce the "w" anyway.

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Quest
I disagree. I have always thought the emphasis is on the "oo" part of the word as opposed to the "w", and sounds in common speech much more like "ooo" than "woo".

no, it is "woo" and sounds like "woo", not "ooo" .

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smithsgj

I don't understand. It's certainly nothing like the English word "woo" if that's what people are thinking: the vowel there is a diphthong. Since [w] and are articulated in the same place in the mouth I can't see that the w contributes anything useful.

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889

It sort-of rhymes with "new" and "too" but you have to strongly pucker your lips. You aren't increasingly puckered up as you say the word; you start from a puckered-up position and then steadily maintain it -- your lips shouldn't move much at all. Perhaps that's why some say "wu" begins a with w-sound.

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smithsgj

The fact that the lip position is constant throughout the sound is precisely what makes me think there isn't a separate /w/ sound at the beginning. How would that /w/ be realized phonetically, and what would /u/ sound like without the /w/?

In the hated bopomofo, wu is realized as ㄨ -just a vowel. Other Pinyin w's are represented themselves by ㄨ (so wo is ㄨㄛ for example). Perhaps bopomofo has the edge over pinyin here?

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889

Well, what's the difference between wu and wo? They both start with the same strong puckering but the puckering changes in wo. If wu becomes u, is wo then uo?

The bottom line is that roman orthography of Chinese is necessarily arbitrary to a certain extent but I find the w here useful because wu and wo suggest a stronger puckering than u and uo, at least to my eyes and ears.

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Quest
at least to my eyes and ears.

w and u both have the same sound in mandarin (i.e. "woo"). The y and w in "Yi and Wu" are redundant, but they help people to realize that Yi is not E, and Wu is not OOO. The y and the w sounds are there.

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gao_bo_han
The y and w in "Yi and Wu" are redundant, but they help people to realize that Yi is not E, and Wu is not OOO. The y and the w sounds are there.

Quest,

Exactly. They are redundant and therefore not pronounced.

I'm sorry but I still don't agree that "wu" in mandarin sounds like "woo" in English. The "w" part of "wu" is very different from the "w" in "wan", for example. Think about it: do you pronounce the "w" part of "wu" in the same way you would pronounce it in "wan"? The only times I've heard anyone pronounce "wu" in mandarin like "woo" in English is in my first semester Chinese class, and the teacher was constantly correcting them.

Bo Han

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Quest

no, you pronounce wu the same way you pronounce wan, just a different vowel. 乌鸦 is (woo ya) not (ooo ya). 中午 is (zhong woo) not (zhong ooo). I said they were redundant because "u" alone is also "woo" (not ooo). English speakers might have difficulty pronouncing "woo" because they are too used to adding an "h" sound between w and the vowels, e.g. who, what, why.. etc" I think for the same reason some of the w sounds still kept in cantonese have been changed to h in mandarin e.g. 魂(hun),会(hui),话(hua). They are "wun", wui" and "wa" respectively in Cantonese.

Listen carefully, the w is there. It's not exactly the English "woo" but certainly not "ooo".

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ala

The pinyin wu is tricky. I think the w- is not pronounced at all if followed by an /u/. 乌鸦 is pronounced uya without the w. 中午 is sometimes slurred (because of the -ng in 中), and you have a w ish sound because 午 is also third tone. But if you pronounce 午 separately and carefully, it has no w-. The w- (for wu, wo, wa..) and y- (all except yu) were added to avoid orthographical problems associated with: zhongwu vs. zhong-u --> zhongu; 蚂蚁 mayi vs. ma-i --> mai). If typing 西安 used to give you trouble, imagine if there were no w- and y-.

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Quest

well, if you can't hear it, and you can make yourself understood, keep saying what you believe then.

Ala, concatenation is another thing. Also, if you listen to musics, many singers like to play on the sounds and say "EE" instead of "yi" etc.

蚂蚁 is Ma Yee, not Ma EEE.

乌鸦 is Woo Ya, not OOO Ya.

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ala
well' date=' if you can't hear it, and you can make yourself understood, keep saying what you believe then.

蚂蚁 is Ma Yee, not Ma EEE.

乌鸦 is Woo Ya, not OOO Ya. [/quote']

Um no, you are wrong. What I believe also happens to be the official interpretation of Standard Mandarin Chinese used in the PRC.

You are confusing tone 2 with y and w. In nonstandard speech, yes some people pronounce the w and y. But in standard Mandarin, the w and y are there only for orthography. Earlier versions of Hanyu Pinyin did not have w and y in the beginning of words. 乌鸦 was spelled uya. 医生 was spelled isheng; while 蚂蚁 had mayi (to avoid confusion with mai). But this was deemed too confusing for the masses, and so w and y were added for all /i/ and /u/ in a revised version.

Excerpt from the official Chinese Phoneticization Scheme:

漢語拼音方案

(1957 年 11 月 1 日國務院全體會議第 60 次會議通過。)

(1958 年 2 月 11 日第一屆全國人民代表大會第五次會議批準。)

i 行的韻母,前面沒有聲母的時候,寫成

When i is followed by a rhyme ending, but has no initial preceeding it, then it is written as: yi (衣),ya (呀),ye (耶),yao (腰),you (憂),yan (煙),yin (因),yang (央),ying (英),yong (雍)。

u行的韻母,前面沒有聲母的時候,寫成

When u is followed by a rhyme ending, but has no initial preceeding it, then it is written as: wu (烏),wa (蛙),wo (窩),wai (歪),wei (威),wan (彎),wen (溫),wang (汪),weng (翁)。

(ü)行的韻母,前面沒有聲母的時候,寫成

When ü is followed by a rhyme ending, but has no initial preceeding it, then it is written as: yu (迂),yue (約),yuan (冤),yun (暈);(ü)上面兩點省略。 The two dots over ü may be omitted.

(ü)行的韻母跟聲母 j,q,x 拼的時候,寫成

When ü is followed by the initials j, q, x, then it is written as: ju (居),qu (區),xu (虛),(ü)上兩點也省略;但是跟聲母 n,l 拼的時候,仍然寫成nü女,lü呂。The two dots over ü may be omitted, but the dots are retained when following initials n and l.

.

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Smoothie

huh?

ok for example like wu as in the number 5. like some said, i hear more "oo" than the "w" sound.

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Quest

ala: w, u, wu have the same sound. we all know why we spell "wu" instead of "u" (except maybe smithsgj), but "u" is not "ooo"; written as it is, it is still pronounced "woo".

it is "a o e i(Yee) u(Woo) u:(Yuuu)"

not "a o e i(eee) u(oooo) u:(uuuuu)"

number 5 is "Woo".

Say this: 伍仪遇一医是什么意思?

according to you: it would become "ooo eee uuuu eee eee shi shenme eee si" (it sounds like a baby who cannot move its lips)

which is obviously wrong!

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skylee

Reading these posts, I have just discovered that I don't know how to speak Putonghua. :oops:

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Quest
You are confusing tone 2 with y and w. In nonstandard speech, yes some people pronounce the w and y.

saying "eee" and "oooo" is nonstandard.

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