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[Absolute Beginner] Correct Pronunciation


zeroByte
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If it's from a CD I feel like it is likely "请进". I think in a recording it can be pretty hard to hear the puff of air if you don't really know what you're looking for. It'd sound just like a little popping noise, but it wouldn't have to be that strong in natural speech.

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Glenn: Sorry, I didn't get you.

Yeah, it may be the audio recording itself.

There are two different pronunciations of "x" from two speakers on the CD: one employs rather "ch" of "church", whereas the woman uses simply "s". I read somwhere on the internet that "s" is a dialect so I guess the "ch" is the official version?

How do I distinguish the sound of "c" and "j" ? The tongue position is _very_ close (at least how I do it). And frankly, I cannot distinguish it for any of the speakers up to now ;-)

Regards,

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Glenn: Sorry, I didn't get you.

Sorry. I was wondering if it may have been a character with more than one reading, but I gather you aren't dealing with characters. That means it definitely wasn't that.

"X" should never sound like the "ch" of "church". It should sound closer to the "ch" of "champagne". I agree that sometimes it sounds a bit "weak" and can sound like "s", though.

"C" is like "ts". "J" is like "j". Use 陳德聰's examles earlier of "its" for "c" and "jeep" for "j". That should get you close.

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If you're still trying to compare sounds that do not occur in English by using "ch" as in "church", you have a problem. We've already said it doesn't really work, and that the only thing you can get from this method are approximations but if you can't distinguish then it clearly isn't working!

The way you are explaining your pronunciation just sounds like you are doing it wrong and for me makes it sound like you don't even speak English if you're pronouncing "church" anything like "x-urch".

Listen to the sound. Just listen to the sound. Don't try to impose your English letters onto the sounds, it won't work. Just listen to the sound. Do exactly what imron always says and record yourself and compare to the original and then keep recording yourself and listen to it and see what it sounds like. Does it sound like the same sound as the real thing? No? OK keep trying.

EDIT: If you provide the recording, perhaps we can even tell you if you are noticing two sounds that are actually different.

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Champagne is closer to pinyin "sh" than pinyin "x" (although it isn't a perfect fit for either). A closer but still imperfect fit for pinyin "x" would be sheen. Church is more like pinyin "ch" (but yet again, it's not exactly the same).

I disagree with some people's opinion that using English approximations of sounds is completely useless, but the problem is that so many people can't seem to wean themselves off it. Once they get hold of the idea that "pinyin 'q' is the same as the 'ch' in 'cheese'" or "pinyin '-iang' is pronounced like the English word 'young'", they ignore the subtle differences between the sounds.

If you want to get a good idea of exactly what each pinyin syllable should sound like, use a tool such as this:

http://www.quickmand...esepinyintable/

Many online dictionaries also have the functionality to pronounce a character or word for you. Bear in mind that this will generally only tell you how to pronounce the syllable(s) in isolation, there are some additional factors to take into account such as tone sandhi, erhua and whatever the technical name is for the phenomenon whereby shénme becomes shémme, hànbǎo becomes hàmbǎo etc.

However, if you know how to pronounce and distinguish syllables very well in isolation, that is at least a good, solid foundation on which to build your speech production and comprehension abilities. Until you can do this, you will find it very hard to either understand or be understood.

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whatever the technical name is for the phenomenon whereby shénme becomes shémme, hànbǎo becomes hàmbǎo etc.

It's assimilation.

I agree with both of you, that listening to the sound and trying to reproduce it first is important, but if that doesn't seem to be working and you need something to gain a foothold using English approximations is fine.

Also, providing the recording, if you can, is probably not a bad idea.

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Better Quality Recording

This is without z, c and s because I'm still at the beginning of their chapter. Doesn't make sense to record them if I haven't practiced them myself enough.

Demonic_Duck: THAT is a nice one. Thank you :)

I also got the feeling that the pronounciation there is much more standard than my learning material. "j" also really sounds like I expect it to sound.

"X" should never sound like the "ch" of "church". It should sound closer to the "ch" of "champagne". I agree that sometimes it sounds a bit "weak" and can sound like "s", though.

"church" => something like "tchurch", I referred to the "ch" without the "t" of course.

The main difference between the "ch" of "champagne" and the "ch" without "t" of "church" is that the first one is quite monotone while the second under andergoes as small pitch-drop? Or, simpler: assess what I recorded directly ;)

Thanks in advance!

Regards,

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It seems odd that you would describe the beginning of "champagne" as "ch" and not as "sh" or something like that, do you speak a language other than English natively? It might be more effective to compare Chinese sounds to sounds in your native tongue...

As for the recording, I don't think we really need to be talking about the pronunciation of specific consonants. I didn't hear you mixing up j q x there so just roll with it.

You should focus on your vowels and your tones. You are still saying something that sounds like "uo" instead of "e".

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Is it better

this way ? (especially e)

Is there something else coming up to your mind?

I just wanted to keep the link to chinese using "ch". "ch" in "champagne" in english itself is surely rather "sh". But yes, I'm not native to English - but I do my very best :)

Regards,

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German! That definitely does explain a lot!

In the most recent recording, your 'e' is much better. But I'm still hearing a lot of the xū for shī going on.

It sounds like you're pronouncing the i in lǎoshī as a German ü like Rübe, but I have no idea how to explain the proper sound, and all I can think of is that your lips are too rounded but that really may not help.

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The "-i" final in "shi", "chi", "zhi" and "ri" is basically just carrying on the consonant sound (but voiced). Similarly with "zi", "ci", "si", except here the sound is different (because the consonant sounds are different). That's how I tend to think of it, anyway.

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New Recording with z, c s and (supposedly better) i

But I'm still hearing a lot of the xū for shī going on.

Better in the above recording? If not, what should I head towards?

I have no grasp of chinese grammer at all, however I have to do some lections in my book :) Can I write that safely?

Hao4 de xian2sheng Chen2 zai4 nar3? (Where is the bureau of mister Chen)

German! That definitely does explain a lot!

I want to dump any (presumably not really subtle) faults in my English pointing to German. So where did I slip up? :)

Regards,

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How important is it to write chinese characters with their thickness subtleties?

In all of the characters are changes in the thickness within each basic stroke, however I'm not sure if I really need them. I myself write with a pen or a ballpen, both of which do not yield me such differentiation in thickness. And frankly, I cannot imagine the average chinese sitting down, putting out his feather and writing down the characters in a _really_ slow manner - especially if he's in a frenzy (daily business) :lol:.

The characters I write adhere to their originals in all aspects of their structure, its just the thickness I can't get right.

If I need them - any hints on how to show them with a pen?

Regards,

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