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Larry Language Lover

Pronunciation of xi

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NinjaTurtle

Larry,

 

Time for a test! Let’s take the word for ‘teacher’ in Chinese, 老师. Do you think the second character has a vowel sound more like the English name ‘Pete’ or more like the English word ‘put’?

 

 

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Larry Language Lover
12 minutes ago, NinjaTurtle said:

Time for a test! Let’s take the word for ‘teacher’ in Chinese, 老师. Do you think the second character has a vowel sound more like the English name ‘Pete’ or more like the English word ‘put’?

 

I would say neither one.  But I just spoke the Chinese word into Google translate on my phone and it understood me instantly.

I think an English speaker might say Pete though.

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NinjaTurtle

Larry,

 

Sorry, it is closer to the English word 'put'. It is 'laoshi' not 'laoxi'.

 

I brought up this example because I have heard many, many English-speaking foreigners in China say  'laoxi' instead of 'laoshi'. Fortunately, now that you have the idea, this will become very easy for you.

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Larry Language Lover

Pete is similar maybe to an English speaker, but the mouth position is too open.   The "i" when combined with the "sh" in Shi1  really changes the mouth position.

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NinjaTurtle
1 minute ago, Larry Language Lover said:

Pete is similar maybe to an English speaker, but the mouth position is too open.   The "i" when combined with the "sh" in Shi1  really changes the mouth position.

 

Quite true. I am glad you now have the idea of 'laoshi' vs. 'laoxi' clearly in your head.

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Larry Language Lover
2 minutes ago, NinjaTurtle said:

it is closer to the English word 'put'. It is 'laoshi' not 'laoxi'.

 

I brought up this example because I have heard many, many English-speaking foreigners in China say  'laoxi' instead of 'laoshi'. Fortunately, now that you have the idea, this will become very easy for you.

  

Exactly.  the mouth position in shi  is much more narrow and Pete is way too open.  an English speaker would assume Pete,  but to me the mouth position is kind of between a "u" and a "uuuuu"

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Larry Language Lover

a "u" by itself is different.    at least an English "u".  I think it is a bit similar to a French "u"

 

Shi has a more narrow mouth and lip position it seems than the English "u"

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Larry Language Lover
2 minutes ago, 889 said:

Does shi there rhyme closer for you to purr or shhhh (as in Quiet!)?

 

I would kind of say neither.   I wish they had voice audio files so I could show you what I mean.  Google voice translate understands my shi in different words. I learned the correct sounds shi- chi- and zhi-  about a month ago during the free skype lesson with a native teacher.  Before that, I was just saying shi- like sheet, chi like cheese, and zhi- like "oh gee" LOL.

The free skype lesson yesterday the teacher also gave me these three sounds to say and she just said 很好 and went on to something else.

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NinjaTurtle

Hey Larry, here is one just for fun.

 

There is a very good youth hostel in Shanghai call the Phoenix Youth Hostel (near People's Park). On the same street is a restaurant called 小绍兴 (Xiǎo Shàoxīng). For the life of me, I have been unable to distinguish the pronunciation of 'xiao' from 'shao' in the name of this restaurant. (Every time I walk by it bugs me...)

 

 

 

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889

There's a thread here where you can post an audio clip for open critique.

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889

The tongue is in completely different places, and there's a hissing puff of air in xiao but not shao. Pear has the puff, bear doesn't (no hissing there, though). Feel the puff with the back of your hand up to your mouth.

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Larry Language Lover
58 minutes ago, NinjaTurtle said:

On the same street is a restaurant called 小绍兴 (Xiǎo Shàoxīng). For the life of me, I have been unable to distinguish the pronunciation of 'xiao' from 'shao' in the name of this restaurant. (Every time I walk by it bugs me...)

 

 

That is a very good one!  Very difficult for non Chinese ears.  I listened on the Yabla pinyin audio chart and the only difference I think is the almost imperceptable influence of the letter "i"and the tongue position for "x"

 

https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-pinyin-chart.php

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NinjaTurtle
3 hours ago, 889 said:

The tongue is in completely different places, and there's a hissing puff of air in xiao but not shao. Pear has the puff, bear doesn't (no hissing there, though). Feel the puff with the back of your hand up to your mouth.

 

889,

 

Thanks for the xiao-shao pronunciation tip.

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ParkeNYU

Using English comparisons to explain Mandarin sounds is like using Wikipedia for a book report—a good place to start to get a general idea of it, but more research is needed. You should look up alveolo-palatal fricative sounds (ʨ/ʨʰ/ɕ) and learn how they are produced.

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Larry Language Lover
18 hours ago, ParkeNYU said:

Using English comparisons to explain Mandarin sounds is like using Wikipedia for a book report—a good place to start to get a general idea of it, but more research is needed.

 

 

Yes,  I am a beginner and need a place to start.

I noticed native Chinese teachers online use English comparisons to teach at the beginning.  This is probably to give people a frame of reference at the beginning.

 

Here are some examples:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUlnp0wm5dk&t=218s

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K1RTPxWiI0

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnSHv2EUD4E

 

 

 

 

 

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