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Reading Chinese: subvocalising with or without tones?

Jan Finster

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Jan Finster

I wonder how you guys read Chinese texts: in case you are subvocalising (i.e. saying the words in your head), are you using the correct tones or are you simply reading the words as tone-free pinyin (e.g. wo hen hao...)?


I am asking because I could read much faster if I would do the latter. However, I am not sure, if this is detrimental to memorising tones and learning the right Chinese "melody".... (?) 

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Tones tones tones - take it slow if you're reading a book, get the rhythm going in your head just like if it were being said aloud. If it's subtitles and you really don't have time to think too much, i find you can skim over all the characters and your brain will get the general meaning of the sentence without any vocalisation at all. You can go the no tones reading route, but you'll thank me later if you push through reading everything with tones

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  • 5 months later...
Phil Tsien

An native chinese speaker's view

since chinese use a ideographic writing system, we don't try to get the pronunciation while reading. I myself just look at the article and get the meaning. 

That's especially true for me for I'm no native mandarin speaker. The dialect I use uses a different system of pinyin. eg. 我 in mandarin it's "wo" but in soutseu(苏州)dialect it's "ngou. 

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