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Kashi

Pronouncing the word vowel "uo" in pinyin

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Kashi

Hello friends.

 

I have started learning Chinese Language in order to pursue my higher studies in China. I am having difficulty in pronouncing some vowels. I shall keep posting for weeks in future. My first question will be about "uo". How to pronounce that?

 

It shall be great if any one here help please.

 

Thank you.

  • Good question! 1

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Kashi

Thanx Luxi. I have gone through this website.  This is where confusion started. It pronounces different than what is on Chinesepod.  

 

Chinesepod does it like owah. Yabla is bit diffrent. Can u check please. 

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Gharial

-uo becomes wo (as in 我 I, me) when it stands alone. The pronunciation is similar to the English words 'war' or 'wore'.

 

There are four other syllables (perhaps also a lo) in Mandarin that seem spelt and pronounced similarly enough: bo, po, mo, and fo (that is, they aren't spelt buo, puo, muo, or fuo), and for which the English words 'bore', 'pore', 'more' and 'fore' are rough equivalents. (I might be technically wrong about this though as the spelling rules for Pinyin aren't always made crystal clear and I don't have time right now to exhaustively check).

 

There is also a standalone o that is only used for exclamations (as in the four relevant characters given here: https://www.mdbg.net/chinese/dictionary?page=worddict&wdrst=0&wdqb=o ). It's pronounced somewhat like a lazy 'aw', 'awe' or 'ore' to my ear.

 

When -uo follows all other relevant consonants (c, ch, d, g, h, k, l, n, r, s, sh, t, z, zh) it retains the -u-. Again, rough English equivalents could be:

 

cuo = saw, sore (but with more of a dental, ts- like quality to the consonant)

chuo = chore

duo = door (dawww)

guo = as in guano but without the -ano LOL

huo = phwoar without the p LOL

luo = law, lore

nuo = gnaw, naw

suo = saw, sore (with the s)

shuo = shore, Shaw

tuo = tore, tour

zuo =  as in saw but with a z LOL

zhuo = jaw

 

By the way, have you tried Pleco (free smartphone app)? It has downloadable audio files (male as well as female the last time I Iooked) so you can hear/check the pronunciation of each character or syllable you look up.

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Kashi

Thank you. Just one more question please.

 

I have recently learnt that "me" in Chinese means "wo".  Should i pronounce "wo" as third tone or second tone ? The reason  i ask this is because it is written in third tone in book with reverse hat on " o"  but according to tone change rule , it is pronounced as second tone. 

Thank you

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Luxi
19 hours ago, Kashi said:

Chinesepod does it like owah.

 

Yes, it looks like the reader exaggerated a bit too much there, she does the other 'uo' better. You have to make allowances for that kind of variation - which is even stronger in real speech. Perhaps it helps to go through several of these tables when you're studying a sound to get used. The pronunciation rules for Mandarin in all those tables are the same. 

The Yoyo Chinese  table is also good, and the sounds come with a short video explanation.

https://www.yoyochinese.com/chinese-learning-tools/Mandarin-Chinese-pronunciation-lesson/pinyin-chart-table

 

The 'official Mandarin' (putonghua/普通话) rules for  'uo'  are quite straightforward: the first vowel, u is pronounced  lighter and shorter, and the 2nd,  o  clearer and slightly longer. The weight on the 2nd vowel is similar for: ia ie ua uo üe.

In contrast, in the other 'double vowels': ai ei ao ou , the weight is on the 1st vowel (longer and clearer), and the 2nd vowel is lighter and shorter.

 

Note that the official rules do not differenciate the pronunciation of uo and wo , the 'w' simply replaces 'u' in the pinyin when the 'uo' syllable lacks an initial consonant (what they call a 'zero initial consonant' case). Do not ask me why!  

 

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mungouk
3 hours ago, Gharial said:

rough English equivalents could be

 

There are enough variants of English pronunciation to make this rather misleading.  You should hear how I pronounce "tour" for example :P

 

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Gharial

@mungouk Sure, and Pinyin is obviously a more dependable guide than English to (Standard) Mandarin pronunciation...once you're familiar enough with it, and whatever slight bugbears it may have in general or for you in particular (e.g. I also stuck my neck out a bit in pondering if bo po mo fo lo could not be included under/seen as slight exceptions to uo rather than listed in a separate o column. I probably need to get around to reading some of say San Duanmu's stuff). Either way I'm confident the OP can find his or her way to and around any reasonably up-to-date English dictionary to confirm at least the standard pronunciations for the "keywords" I've suggested. 8)

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Gharial

@Kashi If there are other third tone items following the wǒ then yes, you need to change that wǒ to wó. For example: wó hén hǎo. It would take too long to say otherwise LOL. The following is from pg 3 of the original Colloquial Chinese course by T'ung & Pollard:

 

39742495_OriginalTungPollardColloquialChinesepg3.thumb.JPG.c00815ab5425a9cb7cb78f591a5e07c5.JPG

 

Another example (with the Qǐng and gěi each changed from 3rd to 2nd tone, and the yī changed from first to second tone (yí)): 请给我那件衬衫看一下儿 Qíng géi wǒ nèi jiàn chènshān kàn yíxiàr "Please give me that shirt to look at" Can I take a look at that shirt (please)?

 

One dictionary that indicates all the required tone changes while retaining the original canonical tones is the ABC ECCE:

 

1620438420_ABCECCEtonechangeindicationspg510.thumb.JPG.1108ede5d63fde79e50d60ce59deb3d5.JPG

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mungouk

I'm confident the OP can find his or her way to and around any reasonably up-to-date English dictionary to confirm at least the standard pronunciations

 

well I would suggest probably not, given that even a typical native speaker would have trouble deciphering IPA in a dictionary, never mind taking into account the many Englishes they might have encountered.

 

I would say bottom line for a beginner should be: listen to native speaker audio, and don’t even try learning text-based pronunciation. Otherwise you will only get it wrong, and fixing this later is very difficult. 

 

 

 

(Sorry I couldn’t get the quote thing to work on my phone.)

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Gharial

@mungouk I'm not sure the "linguistic limitations" of the average native English speaker should be our concern. What I'm more sure about however is that foreign learners of Chinese may need to find foreign-language substitutes (strictly temporary and provisional ones though, of course!) if Pinyin and whatever accompanying audio isn't always quite cutting it for them as a guide to the required pronunciation, and the broad transcriptions used in for example ELT (assuming any quite common words would pose too many decoding problems in the first place) don't strike me as being too arcane for FLLs to be or become reasonably familiar with.

 

Mind you, coming at it from the other direction I always find it a bit weird when IPA is used for transcribing Pinyin (it's more or less a transcription upon a transcription), but that's only because the Pinyin alphabet is relatively simple and straightforward compared to the English alphabet, English spelling etc.

 

Agree that decent native audio is the best arbiter, but it may be hard even for native speakers to pronounce items in isolation and without distortion. Track 2 in the T'ung & Pollard tab here is a pretty brisk n clear, professionally-produced guide to the sounds of Mandarin Chinese:

https://www.routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/colloquial/language/chinese.php

 

Maybe Kashi will respond further and tell us what is and isn't too complex. :P

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889

"I have recently learnt that 'me' in Chinese means 'wo.'  Should i pronounce 'wo' as third tone or second tone?"

 

If you're asking whether the tone changes depending on whether 我 is used as a subject ("I") or an object ("me"), the answer is no.

 

To my ear, the "o" in Pinyin is sounded with lips much more tightly rounded than in English. And it's important not to relax your lips until the "o" is finished. (Sounds simple, but in actual speech it's not so easy, at least for me.)

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Wurstmann

You can go to www.forvo.com and listen to native speakers pronounce words. For example

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