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Has anyone tried New Pepper for learning tones?


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I couldn't find the software called "New Pepper" but I did find "AI chinese" from AISPEECH, I signed up for the 14 day free trial and so far it looks good, they have multiple "books" you can work through and the speech recognition is not bad catching a lot of my mistakes, though there were several times when I was sure I was pronouncing things correctly when it was registering 3rd tones for my 4th tones, but that could be because of my poor laptop microphone. One major plus is that it uses the tone change rules like 2 3rd tones together

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I found new pepper on the webpage you said, and it does look like "ai chinese" only as a download, I don't know why you need a teacher, that's confusing to me as well.

wiith Ai Chinese I'm finding an interesting trend, it's easier for me to listen and repeat without looking at the pinyin, than it is to try to read the pinyin and repeat what was said. I find this interesting because up til now I've been told that I have good pronunciation, and so far all I've had has been reading pinyin and listening to tv/cds and talking with a Chinese friend. I'm happy with my finding because I realized awhile ago that I need to force myself to read the characters and not use pinyin as a crutch. So far I'm really considering spending the money on this... depending on if my personal economy picks up...

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  • 2 months later...

Its available to Open University students in the UK, who are studying the OU chinese course. I downloaded it today and have the codes etc required for use. It comes pre-loaded with all the key vocabulary for my course. Not sure how one would access new vocabulary lists.

First impressions are its OK, but being able to say one or two syllables correct in isolation is very different to saying them in context.

I also question how accurate it is. It draws a tone line that is represents your tones, but I think its very approximate and not totally accurate.

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OK ... spent a bit more time using New Pepper so will add some more comment.

First, regarding the need for a 'teacher'. I think this is set is is for New Pepper to 'sell' some kind of package for a teacher/school/organisation etc who then provide their students with the relevant code to access the system. The code will be unique to the program studied, and students cannot 'add' other words, vocabulary lists etc. I am stuck with the word lists provided by my University with no option to add or change vocabulary lists.

And secondly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY...I mentioned in my last post I had reservations about how accurate it is. Well ... two tests. Test number one is that you can pass New Pepper without actually saying the correct words. If I say 'aaaaaaa' in the correct tone, it will give me a passing mark for pronunciation. Pretty poor, as although it may recognise tones, it will not recognise correct finals or initials. It ISNT going to help all areas of pronunciation.

The second test...and this was the acid one for me....I used my University provided CD, and used the native speaker recordings on vocabulary lists and tested them on New Pepper. Many of the single character words on my CD failed on New Pepper...and words of 3 characters have always failed on New Pepper with every example that I have used.

So, if you get New Pepper free as part of your study program, use it, but dont invest too much time, energy or importance into it. If you are offered the chance to pay for its use. Decline (IMO)

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  • 3 weeks later...


I haven't tried New Pepper or Aispeech, but I recently found a free tool that sounds similar to what you describe. It uses an open source program called Praat to interpret the sound and draw your tone line compared to it's library of native speakers. You can also load other libraries, also freely available.

The program is called SpeakGoodChinese 2 and can be found at www.SpeakGoodChinese.org

It's definitely worth the price ;)

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