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

Pronouncing 人


Blackfist
 Share

Recommended Posts

Maybe the the aversion to 'ri' = voiced 'shi' is because 1) 'ri' sounds so different from the normal 'shi' that it's counter-intuitive to link them and 2) some people are looking at the 'r' in general rather than just in 'ri'.

The Southerners' z-as-in-zoo doesn't sound quite right for me, I think the middle of the tongue needs to be flattened & widened a bit more?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

But even in other syllable pairs like ren/shen, rang/shang, rao/shao, re/she and so on, it's still simply a matter of voiced/voiceless - the tongue shape and position is the same for both initials (that is assuming, of course, that we're talking about 'r' being pronounced as [ ʐ ] and not [ ɻ ]). Zoo was probably not a good example, since the high back rounded vowel after [z] in this particular case causes anticipatory lip rounding and, to a certain degree, a pulling back of the tongue, which is very different from the tongue position in pronouncing pinyin zi, ci, and si. The tongue position in English 'zeal' is a closer approximation. Of course, the exact pronunciation varies, but I've heard quite a number of speakers of southern Mandarin say, excuse the vulgarity, '我日你妈哟' and it was most definitely a [z] sound as in English zoo, zeal, zebra, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally treat it as [ʐ] with some 'r' qualities or maybe an [ɻ] sound heavily influence by [ʐ], it's confusing! :shock: Neither of the following sounds particularly 肉 to me, although ʐoʊ̯ is quite close:

But yeah, syllabic 'r' should be enough if producing [ʐ] is problematic.

One interesting thing I noticed about words like 日 is that many natives pronounce it more like 'ir4' rather than 'ri4', especially in 日本. This phenomenon never occurs outside of r-i pair though, I guess it is Chinese equivalent of English words like 'iron' which is pronounced like 'I earn' [aɪərn] rather than 'I run' [aɪrən]. Another example would be ‘environment’, which follows the same rule.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but I've heard quite a number of speakers of southern Mandarin say, excuse the vulgarity, '我日你妈哟' and it was most definitely a [z] sound as in English zoo, zeal, zebra, etc.
While I think you're right about this, I'm not sure if this Southern pronunciation is what a foreign learner should want to aim for. I've heard r- pronounced as y- and l- by native speakers from various places north and south, and I'm sure they never had any trouble being understood, but it's not really standard and I think it's better to first learn the most correct way.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're absolutely right - foreign learners should aim for the standard pronunciation. I gave the above examples simply in order to show that the initial 'r' is voiced and belongs to the zh, ch, sh series.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the initial 'r' is voiced and belongs to the zh, ch, sh series.

As mentioned above, I completely agree with this. I'm curious about whether most beginners books make this clear, and about whether it's obvious to most native speakers (the same way that it's not immediately obvious to a typical native speaker of English that the English "th" gets pronounced in two different ways)?

Link to comment
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...