Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
lokki

Lip reading - is it possible in Chinese?

Recommended Posts

lokki

It just occured to me that lip reading must be more difficult in Chinese than for non-tonal languages. It wouldn't seem likely that you can pick up too many visual cues to help determine what tone is being used.

Is lip reading possible at all in Chinese? Is it a skill regularly acquired by deaf people as it is in the west? Is it noticeably harder than for non-tonal languages?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

trevelyan

That's really impressing Meng. I know this may seem like a stupid question, but how do you do it? Are you focusing mostly on texts or videos?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
simonlaing

Yeah my wife's grandfather can lip read. I think for people who speak fairly fluent Putonghua it is easier than if it is a dialect.

Nanjing's dialect is fairly closer to Beijing's (I think because of WW2 and the universities here).

But also like other things it is easier for them to read lips if you're facing them and they can see you mouth and tongue.

I second the context issue as well, as sometimes we have to correct him if we only gave one or two word answers these might be interpreted 2 ways.

Have fun,

Simon:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meng Lelan
I know this may seem like a stupid question, but how do you do it? Are you focusing mostly on texts or videos?

Not a stupid question :-)

Texts and videos can't teach speechreading. When I was 3 years old I started at a school for the deaf where they had me practice speechreading and taught me how sounds look different on the lips, teeth, tongue, etc. A lot of practice, drilling, etc everyday until I was 7. A lot of this transfered over to Chinese speechreading, but there are more consonants in Chinese that can't be differentiated. Plus the tones of course. So I have to force myself to pay more attention to content and context, which I don't even bother to do in English.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HashiriKata

That is amazing info, Meng Lelan. From some of your posts, I gather that you teach Chinese. This must be a real challenge for someone with hearing impair. Would you care to share with us how you do it and what would be the most difficult aspect for you in the teaching?

Thanks,

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yonglin

Meng Lelan, you must be the coolest person I've ever met (if reading your posts on a forum qualifies as "meet") and I now have a new role model in life. I think you can do anything.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
renzhe

That is crazy impressive. All my Chinese-related struggles seem tiny in comparison.

Mad respect.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meng Lelan

Don't be impressed with me - in my crazy quest for a deaf-friendly oral exam, the disability center of Texas stepped in with their director - an American born Taiwanese, for heavens sakes - and it turned out HER mother was born deaf in Taiwan, got married, had two hearing and two deaf children (one of them became director of the disability center in Texas), moved them all to the US, got a divorce, and raised four children on her own after that while trying to learn English and trying to get the kids to learn/maintain Chinese. THAT'S impressive. I almost passed out just trying to think/imagine that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HashiriKata

Thank you, Meng Lelan, for sharing your story with us. There may be other impressive stories, too, but yours is personal to us because we somehow know you. Just to learn is already difficult and to teach is just so incredible. From now on, if anyone complains Chinese being difficult, I'll ask them to read this thread again :).

Anyway, I hope that you'll soon find the job you want but do remember, a 40 hours a week teaching Chinese will kill you within weeks, even for someone with your will & stamina.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meng Lelan
Anyway, I hope that you'll soon find the job you want but do remember, a 40 hours a week teaching Chinese will kill you within weeks, even for someone with your will & stamina.

Oh, no, it won't, because it's all I care about :mrgreen:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trevelyan

Wow. What an inspiring story. All I can say is that I hope you find a great and satisfying job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meng Lelan
What an inspiring story. All I can say is that I hope you find a great and satisfying job.

Thanks travelyan...that's my goal for the upcoming school year.

I'm surprised there aren't any other deaf/hearing impaired forum members coming forward with comments on speechreading in Chinese??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu
How I do it, well, it's my passion in my life since I was six years old. Even though people kind of looked at me in a strange way when I said I wanted to grow up and teach Chinese.
Awesome. If a deaf person can become a Chinese teacher, then anything is possible. I'm sure you'll find a job, too. Jiayou!
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
耳耳语语

I just watch "Detective Dee 2". In the movie one of Judge Ti's abilities is than he can read on lips, as one other character says "他会读唇语".

So I also wondered if it was possible, and how he could decipher some inner movement of the mouth like zi ci si ri ^^.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meng Lelan

Under good lighting yes you can see the tongue relative to teeth. Shape of mouth can clue in on some vowels (like "oh!" is more rounded than "eek!"). By the way I always say 我會看口形  not 我會讀唇語.   

 

Wow this is an old thread and my career has shifted away from Chinese teaching and towards teaching cane travel to the deafblind..........

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
seraphim022

Wow, this is indeed an old thread!! But I stumbled across this thread when I was googling if for deaf people learning to speak Chinese since there's a possibility I may move to Shanghai for work for about a year. 

 

I was born profoundly deaf in both ears and had a Cochlear Implant since I was 3. I'm fluent in both American Sign Language and English.

 

I grew up in the United States to Chinese immigrant parents. Mandarin were spoken at home but they tend to always speak English to me. I used to go to a Chinese language school every Sunday, but I didn't have any accommodations back then (such as captioning or sign language interpreters). But I managed to pick up some Mandarin. When I went to China about 5-6 years ago, I was placed in an environment where I had to learn to speak Chinese and memorize the tones. I can't hear the tones, but I would put in the effort to speak with tones, if I could. Sometimes people understood me...sometimes they don't. 

 

I noticed that I was able to lip-read some Chinese....well...for the Chinese words and phrases I hear again and again and with the right context clues. It's definitely a lot harder to lipread Chinese than English, but maybe that's because I grew up speaking English. I'm just wondering if someone deaf like myself could learn to comprehend and speak Mandarin very well in a certain length of time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

Hi seraphim022, welcome to the forums.  You might also be interested in this post by rmpalpha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×