Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
Kenny同志

Help with English pronunciation

Recommended Posts

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

creamyhorror

@kenny: You have a great pitch pattern, very natural, and your speech is fluent. But I found it a bit hard to understand you, because:

1) The microphone quality is a bit too poor. Try using a mic connected to your PC and record to WAV/MP3, or use another mobile phone.

2) You spoke too fast at the start. The words ended up flowing together.

3) You didn't enunciate certain words fully. For example, I think you said "creative" but I wasn't sure because it went by so quick.

Speak sentences slowly and with full enunciation of each syllable, and only then start speeding up while making sure you're enunciating each syllable clearly. You have a very good foundation and your full ability will be shown after you do this (IMO).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenny同志

Thank you very much for the feedback, Creamyhorror. I appreciate it.

My pronunciation is not good because I rarely spoke any English until very recently when I realised that speaking was so important that I should spend a few months focusing on it, then keep on improving it, and ultimately speak like a native speaker. I wish this had dawned on me in my early years of learning English. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be too late now.

The text I read didn’t have “creative” in it. Some words were not articulated because I didn’t know how I should pronounce them correctly. What were they?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
陳德聰

I believe the word was "evacuated", not "creative". I was only able to understand "believe it or not, for gross negligence" from the first half.

I don't know that I would agree that the pitch pattern is natural, the stress pattern is definitely a bit odd in some parts. I would assume the parts I couldn't understand were a combination of misplacing stress and pitch accents. Were there any commas in the text you read? If so, I didn't hear any... They would indicate some much needed pauses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

Kenny, seeing as you've uploaded an amr file, would it be correct to assume that you recorded this on your phone?

If so, I wonder if that is perhaps contributing to the poor sound quality of the file and introducing certain artifacts into your speech that wouldn't be there otherwise (e.g. certain words sound slightly electronic/distorted).

If possible, you might consider using a program like Audacity to make the recording on your computer, and save it as an mp3.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
skylee

This thread is under "Learning Chinese". Perhaps non-Chinese pronunciation recording should be put in another thread? (I just guess the file at #269 is in English because my windows media player doesn't play it. What software should I use for such file type btw?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron
What software should I use for such file type btw?)

VLC should do the trick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenny同志

I will use a better sound recorder and start a new thread tomorrow. Thanks everybody for your feedback.

@Imron

I've been using Audacity since the day you recommended it to me. It's proved to be a very useful tool but wth the version on my computer I seemingly can't create any mp3 file. I will use a sound recorder I found this afternoon tomorrow (http://download.cnet...4-10698910.html). :)

I've tested it. It's great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

I've split this thread out from the other topic, so you can just post it again here. Also, the reason Audacity can't create mp3 files is probably because you need to install the LAME mp3 plugin (see the Audacity page here for more info).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenny同志

Imron, thanks for doing that for me. :)

The whole recording of the speech turns out to be more than 2M in mp3 format so I've saved it as a wma file which is smaller but still of better sound quality than the one I posted yesterday.

Again, any comments are welcome.

rec0827-095027.wma

Edit: Oh, and thanks for the information regarding Audacity.

Edit: For some reason, the first file has two or three parts that are barely audible so I've removed it and uploaded a new piece of audio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

Here is some initial feedback. There are are still a number of smaller issues besides these, but these are the ones that I felt had a strongly negative influence on comprehension

00:02 "sack" sounds like "sick". Try to pronounce the 'a' more.

00:14 "thought" sounds like "sought". Many Chinese learners of English have problems with 'th' sounds. Usually because they don't stick their tongue out between their teeth at the start of the sound.

00:21 "last" sounds like "nast". Make sure not to confuse 'n' and 'l' sounds.

00:25 "liability" sounds like "niability" Same problem as above.

00:44 "evacuated", it seems like you have dropped the 'e' sound at the beginning, so it sounds like "vacuated". Make sure you pronounce all 5 syllables E-VA-CU-A-TED and that you don't run them into each other.

00:52 "his" the 'h' is not pronounced enough so it sounds like 'is' instead of 'his'

00:57 'sycamore', it seems like you have dropped the middle 'a' so it sounds like 'sickmore'. Make sure to pronounce all 3 syllables clearly SY-CA-MORE.

01:00 'lightning' - it sounds like you are saying 'lighting'. Make sure to pronounce the 'n' in 'ning' more clearly.

01:04 'residents', it sounds like you have dropped the middle 'i', so it sounds like you are saying 'resdents'. Make sure to pronounce all 3 syllables RE-SI-DENTS

01:09 'carried', once again you're seem to be merging syllables into each other so this sounds like 'curd' rather than 'carried'

01:10 'million', once again merging syllables. The way you pronounce it only appears to have 2 syllables and almost sounds like the word 'meeting' rather than having 3 distinct syllables MI-LLI-ON

01:12 'this' - same problem above with 'th'. It sounds like you are saying 'zis'.

01:14 'mind' - sounds like you are saying 'marnd'.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
anonymoose

I agree with what imron said above.

I also think that, especially if you want a British English accent, you need to shorten the length of short syllables. I think maybe Americans tend to draw out short syllables more. For example, when you say "did" (at 0:19) and "god" (at 0:50), it would sound more authentic if the vowel sounds were shorter. This is just me 鸡蛋里挑ing骨头, but since you wanted feedback, and specifically mentioned a British accent, I thought you might like to know.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jkhsu

Your "r"s sound American. Listen to your "r"s in "years" (at 0:15), "fired" (at 0:33) and "saturday" (at 1:13).

Try this website (below) for some comparisons between British and American English. Keep in mind that the voices are machine generated so they're not completely authentic. However, it's not bad compared to other similar text-to-speech sites.

http://www.ivona.com/en/

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

See also

on Amercian vs English accents, be sure to listen to the whole thing :D
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenny同志

Many thanks for the above feedback you gave, especially Imron’s which is so detailed.

I’ve done more than forty files since this morning but none of them is sufficiently satisfying though I’ve tried to follow your advice/suggestions. The attached file in this post is what I believe among the best – but far from perfect, I know.

rec0828-133842.wma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
creamyhorror

@kenny: Instead of making 40 recordings, it would be much simpler and more effective for you to hop onto Skype with one of us and start getting specific corrections in real time, repeating after us, etc. You can add me on Skype (same username) and drop me an email when you want to chat. (I haven't listened to your latest recording btw)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenny同志

Thanks for the suggestion, Creamyhorror.

I think that’s a very good idea but that may take up a lot of time of you guys. So now I am considering hiring a native speaker to correct my pronunciation.

I’ll post an ad in the classifieds and see if there’s anybody who’s interested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenny同志

Learning a British accent is too hard for a dummy like me and the difficulty is compounded by the lack of an easy-to-follow training course.

I bumped into Paul S. Gruber’s website yesterday and found his training video extremely helpful (btw, I also found the whole video on Baidu). After much thought, I’ve decided that I shall switch to an American accent, thinking that by the time I’ve fully mastered it, it might be relatively easier for me to learn a British accent.

I suppose that even when I’ve finished Paul’s course I would still need someone to correct my pronunciation, for that I have a budget of about 1,000 -2,000 RMB, depending on how much I sound American then.

Thanks again for all of your feedback, guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenny同志

rec0804-175845.mp3

同志們幫我聽下,看看我的英語你們能不能聽懂了。謝謝。

Hi folks, could you take one or two minutes to listen to my lastest recording and tell me if my English is easier to understand now. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

One thing that immediately sticks out is that your pronunciation of 'th' is off. Most of the time it sounds instead as if you are pronouncing like 'z', which to me says that your tongue is not protuding from between your teeth when you start to make this sound.

This has quite an effect on understanding, especially in the first sentence when you say "the other day" I had to listen to it a number of times before I understood what you were saying. In other places it doesn't affect understanding "brother", "get together" etc, but is still noticeably incorrect.

The other thing I would suggest is to slow down a fraction and spend a bit more time enunciating things more clearly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...