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phyrex

Resources for shadowing/chorusing

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phyrex

Hey guys,

I've found that my Chinese pronounciation is pretty bad, and since it seems that shadowing/chorusing is the way to go for that (or has anyone experienced a better way?), I thought I'd give that 方法 a try.

Therefore, has anybody already prepared some resources which are good for Chinese shadowing? I mean short clips, maybe 2-10 seconds (?), which are challenging and in sum go through pretty much all the sounds there are in Mandarin. I'm sure I'm not the first one to do that, and that would save me a heckuvalot of searching and clipping audio if I could shamelessly make use of somebody else's already prepared resources - I'd prefer to use that time for actual study ;)

Thanks a lot!

edit: PS: I'm really mostly interested in prosody, not so much in the pronunciation of isolated syllables, so 'better ways' should really address that. I'm also quite capable of doing that work myself, I just thought I could spare myself some time if anybody had already prepared a collection of suitable soundbites.

Edited by phyrex

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taylor04

I know Chinesepod has a really good flash program with all the pinyin combinations. Sounds like you need to buy an introduction to Chinese sounds type of book and practice with Chinese people. I strongly recommend Introduction to Standard Chinese Pinyin System by: Helen Shen. It was the first Chinese book I covered and it gave me a great foundation. Although, the most important thing is still to have Chinese people correct your pronunciation.

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phyrex

Hey taylor04,

thanks for your answer. I'm however not a newbie, I've been studying for over a year, living in Beijing for half a year, and have a Chinese girlfriend - it's not that I don't know how to read pinyin. I'm specifically looking for shadowing/chorusing material to improve the prosody of my speaking..

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chrix

I guess it depends on what type of learner you are, but what I'd need is a native speaker who has a sensitive ear and can correct you a hundred times until you get it right. The problem is finding these native speakers, as not everyone has a talent for that. Though in China it will be infinitely easier than here in the diaspora :mrgreen:

I'd also ask them record words for me and look at them using praat or other tools, and try to imitate it and see if I can get the pitch contours right.

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renzhe

Single words are good. http://www.nciku.com/ lets you listen to many of the words, so that could be a good start.

But soon you will want to work on sentences, or your speech will always sound weird and stilted. Look through a number of podcasts with transcripts, load the mp3 file into audacity, select a part you want to concentrate on, adjust the speed, set it to loop, and chorus away.

Recording yourself is a great way to compare yourself to a native speaker. Audacity will let you do that too.

After you've practiced it and got close to the native speaker template, you can ask a Chinese person to give you more specific pointers.

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phyrex

Guys, please read what I said!

I know how to cut stuff out of podcasts! I can do that! I would however prefer not to! I'm sure other people have already done that and found a couple especially valuable sentences, and I'm asking those people if they'd be willing to share. That's it!

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chrix

you did ask for "a better way". And absent such resources, people have been suggesting other ways (because it's better than nothing).

BTW, my proposal can be expanded to any kind of linguistic unit, even sentences or paragraphs...

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phyrex

That's of course true and I don't want to appear ungrateful - I very much appreciate it when people take the time to respond to my queries. I should have written that I'm mainly interested in prosody, and only indirectly in the actual pronunciation.

You're also right with your proposal, but I'd rather work on my own first to establish a certain minimum of proficiency before I start annoying my girlfriend ;)

Edited by phyrex

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atitarev

Off-topic: what's the word for "shadowing" in Chinese.

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renzhe

Maybe you're overestimating the difficulty of doing this with a podcast or any other sort of recording. It is esentially loading the mp3, selecting a sentence you are interested in with the mouse, and then pressing play. When you're happy, save the snippet and look for a new one. Audacity makes this easy, so you'll be spending minimal time.

I don't know if there is a database of "important" sentences out there, but it would have to be rather big to be useful, and it's hard to say what a useful sentence, and different words will behave differently in different contexts, the lengths of pauses are important, etc. etc. Just picking any spoken text, highlighting any interesting part (any random sentence, basically) and repeating it seems like the easiest approach to me :conf

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chrix

OK, to understand you better - what do you mean by prosody:

only the sentence-level intonation, or also the how combinations of tones in polysyllabic words influence each other? I find the latter also very important, and for this it would be important to start with two and three-syllable words, and then go on to four-syllable chengyu etc.

But if you mean mainly the former, as in the sense of this sinosplice post, I'd find this extremely hard to learn by oneself. But that might just be me. (And Sarevok had a professor teaching this kind of thing, but it's all in Czech)

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phyrex

altiraev: 同步复述? ;)

renzhe: Yeah, I suppose you are right. I figured somebody might have already thought up a definition for 'useful sentences', e.g. uses a wide spectrum of sounds, tricky tone combinations, and sweet sweet erhua, all in a short sentence... or whatever :) If I were looking for something like this, it might take some searching to find sentences like that. But you are probably right, I'm overestimating the importance of that.

chrix: Both, I guess. Where do you see the added benefit of starting *really* short when you're chorusing/shadowing anyway?

edit: making my sentences a bit less ugly. You know, the kind of things one should do *before* submitting the post.

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chrix

Well, I think it would a great thing to internalise all two-syllable combinations first, to get a feeling for them. Expanding to chengyu this would give you a feeling how this would work in a longer unit.

In a sentence, you need to be focusing and defocusing in the right way, and I personally feel that it would be useful if you had it down cold how it would sound in a stressed position...

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phyrex

Have you actually tried that? The guy I linked above suggests that sentences are the perfect length. Also, it seems much more prudent (= lazy = good) to me, to start with sentences, and from there to concentrate on the combinations that give you problems, instead of mindlessly drilling all of them "just in case"..

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chrix

I'm having issues with prosody myself, and right now I don't have the time to specifically address the issue. I guess I'll need to move to China for a couple of months and tackle this systematically at some point in the future.

But why I think this would be better than to start from sentences: as a tonal language, the tones of individual words are overlayed and interacting with global prosody effects.

So while I think that guy's method (I didn't look too closely at it, but he doesn't mention tonal languages) is great for nontonal languages, where the prosody is all found at the sentence level, you need to learn to intertwine the lexical tonal contours with the sentential prosody.

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phyrex

Isn't Swedish partly tonal or something?

> the tones of individual words are overlayed and interacting with global prosody effects.

Isn't that what I want? ;)

> need to learn to intertwine the lexical tonal contours with the sentential prosody.

I have no idea what you're talking about ;P

That being said: You know that I'm a fan of keeping it 'natural', and seeing that "intertwining the lexical tonal contours with the sentential prosody" is something every Chinese native speaker does, and has learned that with, supposedly, sentences as its base, I don't see how using sentences would be an 'inferior' choice..

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chrix

Yes, but without wanting to go into the details here, it's a very different kind of tonal language (the technical term is "pitch-accent language"), the lexical tone is highly localised, totally different from Chinese.

I know that you are a fan of what I call "osmosis" :mrgreen: and certainly, if it works for you, then it's great! So I'm not saying sentences would be an inferior choice, listening to sentences makes a lot of sense, but I personally would prefer a bottom-up approach is all...

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phyrex

Hmkay, I guess we can settle on that ;)

I'll do that sentence thing and let you know how it goes :)

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