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HI Xuefang

Ok, the good news, I understood everything you said. So clearly, in speaking you are able to get your point across, so that's not a problem. I feel that you speak pretty slowly so you are being cautious about how you speak, which is also a good start, because now you are going need to get super picky!

For the issues identified above, as always, take Imron's advice. (I've seriously never seen anyone be able to patiently explain all of this so clearly!)

Also, what I personally found really helped me get past this 'I cannot hear my own mistakes'* hump was to get a professional tutor (intervention!) at a language school for about 2-3 months*. This consisted of 2 hrs/ 5 days per week 1 on 1 focused on practicing pronunciation with a teacher who was very skilled and experienced w/ teaching foreigners & familiar with the PSC exam . Therefore it was not a waste of time or money. If anything, after some intensive study I was finally able to hear the tones to the point that even if I said them wrong I could tell that it was not how it should be pronounced. (I could literally hear her voice in my memory saying the same tone, etc, picture the graph of how the tone should dip or rise, hear the overall sentence in my head, etc). Also, IF you do decide to get a tutor you will need to practice on your own quite a bit to reinforce everything so that you are more 'confident' in your tones to make them correct and completely 到位, i.e., still do what Imron said! As another potential solution if you are able to find a student from a 师范大学 that has taken a PSC exam maybe you can work something out. I met a girl from Guangzhou who had very clear putonghua but you could hear a little bit she was from the south, so her PSC score was a 二甲, however she was SUPERB at explaining many of my problems to me, so there are definitely other options if you want to do a language exchange or something other than formal tutoring. Also, I would talk to your University teachers to see if there are any students they recommend as well.

So basically you need to start with characters (initials, finals & tones!), then move on to a words, and then a sentence, and then a passage as long as what you recorded. Your voice will get hoarse, it will be torture, but your pronunciation will become more standard. I'm sure you'll do great! Be sure to check back in w/ us!

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@heifeng Thank you very much for your help and advice! I think an experienced tutor would be a great help for me. I will first try to find out if any of the Chinese students (studying to be teachers) could help me out for free or later on when it's possible pay for a tutor/teacher.

I will absolutely get back to you later on and let you all know how I've been doing.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi folks! I've just arrived in Beijing to continue studying Mandarin, and I'd like to use this summer to work on my pronunciation. I've previously studied Chinese for two semesters, but that's one year ago now, and I've barely read or spoken since then. Our 口语 teacher wanted us to send her a recording of ourselves, and I figured I ought to upload it here for what will hopefully be a more comprehensive critique.

The recording is an excerpt from our 口语 textbook 走进中国 (中级汉语口语). I didn't try too hard to read it perfectly, nor did I listen to the accompanying CD before speaking, so it's probably quite similar to the way I speak Chinese in everyday situations.

I'd deeply appreciate any feedback, especially with major errors that I commit consistently.

Personally, I think my biggest problem is that my tones are all over the place, and that especially the 4th sounds too excessive. Additionally, my 'r's sound strange, and I pronounced 刚到 as ganggao at some point.

The text:

山口: 喂, 你好, 是刘明吗?

刘明: 是我,您是。。。。。?

山口: 我是山口,不好意思,我现在还在路上,有点儿堵车,可能要晚到一会儿。

刘明: 没关系,别着急,我就在校门口等你。

山口: 你好,请问你是刘明吗?

刘明: 对,你是山口吧。

山口: 真抱歉,第一次见面就来晚了。

刘明: 没事儿,我也刚到。

山口: 你是汉语学院的吧,我是刚来的留学生。

刘明: 你的发音挺不错的。我今年夏天毕业,最近没什么事儿,正在学日语。听朋友说你想找一个语伴,我们可以互相帮助。


刘明: 那太好了!这样吧,这里太吵了,咱们找个咖啡馆坐着聊吧。


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especially the 4th sounds too excessive

I didn't think so, in fact I thought you threw a lot of them away...

I heard "lùshāng" and "méiguānxī" and "zhèngsái" but also "liúmìng" and "niàn" and "gánglài". I think these are pretty small but common types of tone/pronunciation errors, but on the whole your speaking is really good!

I think maybe your natural tendency is to alternate 2nd and 4th tones instead of saying the correct tones for some phrases. For two semesters of study a year ago, your pronunciation is pretty good!

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Ah! I studied this textbook like in 2007. My Chinese didn't progress much from then, haha!

I think 陈德聪 is quite spot-on with regard to the 2nd/4th tone. To me that's what stands out the most. And you do it very consistently. Actually I think your speech is still comprehensible most of the time (I think this is actually a feature of some regional dialects...?)

Apart from the 2nd/4th tone, which is probably the first thing you should work on...

是我 -- The 我 is supposed to be a "full" 3rd tone with quite a lot of emphasis. This sounds sort of like 是喔 to me...

可能要晚到一点 -- I think you might have misread rather than mispronounced this one (to me, it sounds sort of like 和鸟忘 something something...)

没关系 --- The 系 is toneless in mainland speech, so this sounds weird to me. Maybe it sounds alright to a Taiwanese Mandarin speaker...?

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I was just reading imron's post #31 in this thread, which is dated 2009, and that gives a link to downloadable MP3 files to use with Audacity to practise speaking. That link is dead now. Can anyone suggest anything else? The sentences imron quoted looked doable to me. My level is higher than beginner, probably 2 or 3 years (actually a rebeginner so hard to pin down).

I am not very good at finding things on the Web on Chinese-language sites.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 7 months later...

Is this thread still active? The last post is 8/26/2012. I'd love some critics on my pronunciation. Thanks! :)

First of all, I was born in China but I moved to the US before I even finished elementary school. I am thinking of making Mandarin videos to "teach" my friends Mandarin. I have no problem communicate in Mandarin with natives (unless they have strong accents or they think I have strong accent). So, I hope someone here can listen to my Mandarin and give me some feedback on it? Feedback like what accent do I have and if my accent is strong? I have been told that I have a Taiwan accent. I also have wawa yin as some other people told me.

Please let me know if anyone help me out, thanks! (^_^)

I have video and audio clips. If you can help me out, let me know if I should show you the link to YouTube or 56


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Is this thread still active? The last post is 8/26/2012. I'd love some critics on my pronunciation.

It's not recently active, however as long as people want to keep posting their pronunciation, I'm sure there will be people willing to offer feedback.

P.S. I merged your above post with the other post you made.

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Yes, by all means post a link, this is an "on demand" thread nowadays :)

But I'm not sure if many people will be brave enough to comment, except native speakers. If you went through elementary school in China, you'll have better pronunciation than most learners, I imagine.

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@imron, thank you for the merge! I made my first post and then found this thread and was like, "ops! >.<" :lol:

@renzhe, thank you for replying. I will come back later tonight with the audio clip :D (^_^)

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Oh, I just listened to other people's clip and realized that they are different. I did my sample based on the OP's sample text.

Please provide feedback :D Thanks!


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I'm not a native speaker, but I'll be brave.

It isn't really a Taiwanese accent, but I'd say it's definitely southern. Where is your family from?

It's got a few non-standard things, the most obvious being that you generally don't distinguish between s/sh, z/zh, c/ch, and sometimes when you do, you say the wrong one. For me, it isn't a barrier to understanding you, but that may be because a lot of Taiwanese people do the same thing, so I'm used to it. For others it may be more of a problem. Other things I noticed, for pinyin j- you tend to say z-, and for n- you tend to say l-. Again, the latter happens in Taiwan a lot. I don't care too much about "standard" vs. "nonstandard," and overall I think you have a very nice-sounding voice and accent, but some aspects of your pronunciation might be difficult for learners who are likely only accustomed to the very standard accent used in learning materials.

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I think if you try to enunciate a bit more then it should be fine to "teach" your friends as you put it.

I would have said "sounds like you're from Taiwan" if I hadn't seen that OneEye said you don't sound like you're from Taiwan... If that helps at all.

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I understand where that's coming from, and I probably would have thought that before moving here too. But native Mandarin speakers in Taiwan do distinguish between the sounds that I mentioned, it's just that they don't do it in the same way as the mainland standard, so the so-called "retroflex" initials aren't actually retroflexes, but more like alveolo-palatals. The other major accent here comes from native speakers of Hokkien, who tend not to make the distinction, and they also sometimes do the n/l thing, but other than that her accent doesn't resemble theirs at all. The most distinguishing characteristic is that they tend to change f into hu, so fei becomes hui, etc. The conversation about 25 minutes into this episode is a good example (especially the guy with the mustache). This sort of accent is what Taiwanese people mean when they say 台灣國語, which I gather to generally just mean Taiwanese Mandarin when mainlanders say it.

LinBB, other things I noticed in your recording are that your x tends to turn into s and your q tends to turn into c. So there seems to be a systematic shift from palatal to dental in your dialect, compared with the standard. I agree with 陳德聰, if you make sure to enunciate when you're teaching, you should be fine. They need to get used to different accents anyway. Just be aware of what the standard pronunciation is and how yours differs, so you're not correcting them when you don't need to be.

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@OneEye and @陳德聰, thank you so much! You guys are SUPER helpful!!! I really appreciate the feedback :D I put " " in "teach" because I don't feel confident and I wouldn't want to mislead. It is not 100% teaching since I will be reviewing Mandarin myself, so kind of like "share and learn" together sort of thing. Anyways. :oops:

@OneEye, I did come from southern of mainland China! (^_^) South-east I think? I came from Fujian. Yes! Another person also mentioned that I have problem with s/sh, z/zh, c/ch. I watched a clip on YouTube on the pinyin, it seems like zh kind of rolls the tongue while z doesn't?

Haha, after seeing the clip you reference, yea, I don't talk that way LOL.

I will have a lot more time after this week. Reading the feedback has been extremely helpful and I now know exactly what to do to improve my Mandarin :D I will be back this weekend with an update clip. Talk to you guys soon. 非常感激 :mrgreen:

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  • 2 months later...

This is not-so-active but very helpful thread. I think I had an account here but have to idea what the username or email used was. I was wondering if you guys could offer some help on my pronunciation. I picked an narrative that can be found here: http://hanhan.qq.com/hanhan/one/one269m.htm#page1

The recording posted is the my 2nd reading of this because the computer was being disagreeable:


Please post feedback! :)

For more background info:

Ethnic Chinese born in America

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You might want to pick a piece that you can read all the characters of first.

Or perhaps try writing a sample yourself so that we can hear how you actually speak naturally? It was pretty rough on flow and there were a lot of times where you straight up just said the wrong word.

比如 <- that is not a 加

楚留香 <- first character is chǔ

But from your actual pronunciation it sounds like you take [q] and turn it into a halfway [x~sh] sound, for example 父亲总说起 it was pretty noticeable.

定居 dìng

祖屋 zǔ

依然 rán

飘逸潇洒 piāoyìxiāo

滑稽 huá

门缝 ménfèng


用品 yòngpǐn

兴趣 xìng

旅游 <- you said 游泳 and I almost spit out my food.

Are you just translating from Cantonese or Hokkien or something while you read? Particularly 定居 and 兴趣 I thought I heard "deng ju" and "hong qu" which sound like guesses based on their pronunciations in other Chinese languages.

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