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Poll: shhhhhhh! "x" or "sh"


Sh! "x" or "sh"   

37 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Chinese sound is closer to the English "sh" sound:

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Okay let's settle this. You are invited to answer the following question:

English has the "sh" sound. Chinese has the "x" and the "sh" sounds (in pinyin).

Which is the closer of those two Chinese sounds to the English one?

EDIT: For the purposes of this poll, base your answer on how you pronounce "sh" in the English word "she".

You have to pick one answer.

If you think they are both equally far from (or close to) the English sound, then you can't vote.

This follows this topic:http://www.chinese-f...E8%A5%BF-shore/

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Okay, firstly, the question is whether the x in pinyin xi / xia / xian / xiang or the pinyin consonant sh sounds more like English 'sh'. We're not talking about xu, xiong or other x-pinyins.

Also, shouldn't we define a reference pronunciation for pinyin xi? Many sources say it's ɕ, but the CCTV audio clips I linked in the previous thread sound more like it's somewhere in-between s and ɕ. See:

Okay, more examples from CCTV's "Special Chinese" 慢速新闻汉语. Listen to the sharp sibilant 's'-sound preceding Ms Yi Li's pronunciation of x:


@ 0:28 - juxing qidong yishi - sharp x

@ 1:05 - chongman aixin de - sharp x

@ 1:20 - zhaoshou yanzhong yingxiang - sharp x

Two other readers:


@ 1:11 - fenxi renshi - sharp x

@ 1:25 - huoxu jiang xiankai - sharp x

@ 1:27 - Meiguo Zhufang Jinrong Xitong - ultra-sharp x (this is a good one)


@ 1:07 - Liu Xiangdong - ultra-sharp x (on the edge of becoming s)

@ 2:14 - yanhai feixing de - sharp x

@ 2:21 - diao tou xiang bei - ultra-sharp x

@ 2:47 - Daxiyang - sharp x

For variety, here's a video from Happy Chinese (快乐汉语):


@ 1:08 - Fuchuan ye bei yuwei Guo Xiang Fuchuan - sharp x

@ 1:36 - Quanxixi - sharp x

I guess a reference is needed for English 'sh' and pinyin sh as well, but it gets troublesome...

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Also, shouldn't we define a reference pronunciation for pinyin x?

Nope, we shouldn't! :) The simpler the better!

There are a number of questions out there in the world* where person A thinks the answer is obviously X and person B thinks it's obviously Y and they find it hard to conceive of anyone could sensibly think differently to what they do.

*for example whether people wipe their backsides standing, sittiing, or chrouching tiger hidden dragon.

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I find not giving the option to vote "neither" errr uninteresting. It's not like you're going to decide who is right. You'll just end up with stats about forum members opinions. The only thing of interest to me is, proportionally how many people go with textbook definition of pinyin, and how many rely more on what they hear. Or something :mrgreen:

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For those of you who voted that the English "sh" is closer than the Chinese Mandarin "sh", you're basically saying this video is wrong and that all the schools in China teaching people how to pronounce the English "she" using “西" for example are wrong. If you really feel this way, why don't you get people to change how Chinese or English is taught? At lot of people teaching Chinese Mandarin use similar examples as these videos.

Fastforward to 3:20 seconds in this video where she shows how "x" is similar to "sh"

Similarily, this is exactly how I pronounce "sh". Fastforward to 2:40 where she says there is a slight touch between your tongue and hard palete. I agree with this video 100%

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