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That's what I figured. I am living in China so I can practice, however, having the HSK3 level doesnt take you very far... So I need more knowledge to practice (efficiently at least) I think.

+ what limits the practice is that I usually dont understand what people say haha so I cant reply.

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i am am no expert but I found that in places, you are quite hard to listen to. You rush speaking in quite a lot of instances. Is that a feature of where you first learnt Mandarin and then moved to a different part of the country?


i think your first tone characteristic that realmayo pointed out also shows up in 听不懂. It is not quite high enough and needs to be a bit longer.


I suspect it is the speaking too quickly that is throwing off some of those native speakers.

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@xiaoxuesheng Have you studied/lived in Dongbei anywhere? The first tone in Dongbei accents has a significantly lower pitch compared to the standard. Although as others have said, combined with the fast pace and some tonal inaccuracy, it could become difficult to understand.



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On 2017/5/31 at 5:36 AM, xiaoxuesheng said:

Please give me some feedback on how to improve my spoken Chinese :)


I have a slightly different take on your accent. It sounds to me like your tones are mostly fine to be honest, but your intonation throws me off. I listened to your recording twice, and I have no idea what you said in your first sentence, and then I have no idea what you said in the seconds before you said 请教.


To me, your 当地人 is not the wrong tones, but the wrong distribution of emphasis across syllables. You're saying DANG-diren when you should be saying dang-DI-ren. I suspect this is the same issue that is making it hard to understand you in general because it makes it hard to decipher the word boundaries in your speech.

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First of all - thank you for everyone who took time to give me feedback. I was on purpose a little vague in my first post to get as raw feedback as possible. Also, I tried to speak as normal as I would when having a beer with friends and not do several takes to get things "perfect".


realmayo: I have actually done quite a bit of formal studies but I'm a real slacker when it comes to school. You are right - I have picked up most of my Chinese by just talking to a lot of people from day one. In the beginning I thought that the pronunciation would work itself out automatically with time if I just spend enough time with native speakers. Well, it hasn't. I have already had a few sessions with a private teacher and I got a book that only concentrates on pronunciation. When I read pinyin in isolation, especially one syllable at a time, my pronunciation is a lot better. As such, there is unfortunately little the teacher can do - how to fix something that doesn't need to be fixed? Of course, things get worse with tone pairs and especially my second tone is horrific: drops in the beginning and never really goes up. I'm aware of it, I can hear how it should should, but cannot produce that sound even in isolation. When I speak "freely" it's when everything gets completely messed up. I guess the only way to go forward is to slow down and just try to be more clear. I feel talking too fast is a way to mask all the mistakes that I make.


Flickserve: I'm not quite sure if talking fast or rushing speech is a special feature here in 东北. I think it's more my personal thing and I should just slow down, get back to basics like realmayo suggested and learn to be more articulate and clear.


davoosh: Wow, I wouldn't had thought there is anything in my very-clear-foreigner-accent that would say 东北.


陈德聪: in the beginning I said something along the lines of 在这个录音,我要随便说话. My 请教 is actually 请评价 and what you hear before it is mumbling - I didn't write this down before speaking or think about what I am going to say so I was searching for the word while speaking. I will take a note of my intonation better in the future.




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@xiaoxuesheng you know I had exactly the same problem with my second tone, my tutor said it often sounded just like a third tone, needed lots of work but eventually I got it right. What helped me was (i) treating it as a 'quick' tone like the fourth tone as opposed to the longer first and third tones and more importantly (ii) not starting it at the 'bottom' pitch but at least in the 'middle', if not higher up. Previously, as I started to make the sound, I was lingering at a low pitch in order to summon up the vocal energy to rise higher. But you've got to hit the ground rising, as it were. (If you're going to linger anywhere, it's best to linger at the top so it's a rise-and-then-flat, which isn't ideal but is much better than lingering down low where it's flat-and-then-rise. When Chinese speakers hear a long, low sound they just assume 'third tone', even if you eventually start rising.)


1 hour ago, xiaoxuesheng said:

I have picked up most of my Chinese by just talking to a lot of people from day one. In the beginning I thought that the pronunciation would work itself out automatically with time if I just spend enough time with native speakers.


Yep, I was the same. But once you fix the pronunciation then you're right back on track and still benefiting from the ability to chat confidently and comfortably with all kinds of people. As well as tone pairs, you could record yourself saying the kind of sentences that you seem to use all the time (saying where you're from, how long you've been in China, all that kind of stuff). Then write them out, and one-by-one, make a tutor force you to say those sentences slowly and perfectly. It'll be horrible and take weeks and weeks!


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I have read a couple of ways.


firstly, you can talk to a tutor and you tell them to be totally pedantic in correcting you to the minute detail. A humbling experience.


second, I read something from Olle Kjellin about listening repeatedly to the same one sentence (use a MP3 on loop play). Then you try saying it copying it exactly. Gradually you become aware of where you say things wrongly with tone and rhythm and start autocorrecting in practice.

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On 31/05/2017 at 4:03 PM, davoosh said:

Well, I thought I would give this a go as it's been so long since I've actually done any proper study and it would be nice to hear if my pronunciation has become much worse...!  



Chinese Pronunciation.m4a


Just giving this a bump because I think it got lost amidst the other messages. In the recording I say:





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  • 1 month later...
On 2017-06-03 at 4:10 AM, davoosh said:



Sorry this got overlooked!


You sound a bit like a robot, but your tones are good. Your 然 might sound like suìrán because you're starting the sentence abruptly. Were you reading from something you'd typed already?


Also just 很多机会练习 felt a bit strange on the 机会, like you put extra stress on 会. Have you done much work on your sentence level intonation? Your last sentence sounded the most natural and comfortable, but it's not like you're pronouncing things wrong.

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Thanks for the comments! I wonder if the robotic sound is due to recording or my way of speaking. My native English accent is very up-and-down so perhaps I'm overcompensating. 


I was semi-reading but I havent spoken Chinese in a natural environment for a long time. I haven't focused on sentence level intonation - that might help!

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  • 4 months later...

I think I could have gone my entire life without knowing who "Trance Baby Meow" was and not be missing out.


I believe the lyrics are:


Line 1 快来电感应

Line 2 感觉到我跟你同时触电反应

Line 3 不管相隔多远都能互相联系

Line 4 因为太多太奇妙的喵電感应

Line 5 喵電感应喔 我的距离

Line 6 細胞在共鳴 內心在呼應

Line 7 喵電感應 有一些感性

Line 8 連結的遊戲不斷在通訊


General notes:

- I don't know if it is just your voice, but it seems that you are using your nose more than I would expect.

- Not a natural rhythm for speech


Specific notes:

- Line 2, you put an unnatural accent on the dào in "gǎnjué dào" and you sound like you are saying "我gēi你" 

- Line 3, you pronounce 能 as "náng"

- Line 4, you pronounce 因為 as "因wài", and 奇妙 as "奇miáo"

- Line 5, you pronounce as "喵dián感應

- Line 6, you unnaturally separate into "細... bào在共...鳴néi心,在呼...應" when the words should be 細胞 - 在 - 共鳴,內心 - 在 - 呼應

- Line 7, you pronounce 不斷 as "不duān“


My general suggestion would be to learn what the words of the songs you are learning mean before trying to speak them aloud so that you can break down the lyrics into phrases and reproduce the proper word boundaries.

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Thanks for this feedback, it's really useful.

The music, you either love it or hate it. I'm a fan.

I made a couple of typing errors I didn't pick up on in the post and forget the 

I've been a bit obsessed with this song for about 18 months now and learning the words' meaning has definitely been my approach. So I guess I need to just keep repeating this.

Line 6: Yeah, that's how they are sung in the song so I copied her style.


@realmayo What software is that? Looks line a really useful tool.



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On 7/29/2016 at 7:00 AM, 陳德聰 said:

Dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì Lín Zhènpú. Zhì shì wǒ de zhōngwén yīn de zi:


Zhì -> zhè

yīn -> fāyīn

zi -> lìzi


朋友你好、為了你好;請你坐好、心聽好; 人的一生、平安好;錢少、夠吃就


用 yǒng -> yòng

人 rěn -> rén

的 dà -> de

就 jiào -> jiù

少 shāo -> shǎo

吃 qū -> chī


You also said 就 instead of "", but I think this is because you memorized the rhyme incorrectly. My suggestion is to work on your jiù pronunciation so that it sounds like "ji(o)u" instead of "ji(a)u".

And here is another attempt at my first posting in this thread, to see if I have improved.

朋友你好、為了你好;請你坐好、用心聽好; 人的一生、平安就好;錢多錢少、夠吃钱好


And I had another go at my previous post.


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