Hacking Chinese Pronunciation course now open for registration

scorecard-smallAfter a successful first test run of my pronunciation course, it’s now time for a second round. I’ve learnt a and improved the course accordingly.

Today,I’m opening the course again! Since I’m doing most of the work manually on my own, the number of slots will be limited. Last time, the slots were sold out the first day, so if you want to sign up, don’t wait too long!

The course is now closed and will open again next y

What is the purpose of the course?

I have studied, taught and researched Chinese pronunciation for some time, partly because I think that pronunciation is the weakest part of Chinese education in general, but mostly because I really enjoy it.

One of the most serious problems is that intermediate and advanced students typically don’t even know that they have pronunciation problems. If they do, they usually don’t know exactly what they are and how to fix them.

Filling that gap is the goal of this course. I will find, analyse and explain problems with your pronunciation, as well as provide you with the tools you need to improve your pronunciation in general. The analysis is done on the syllable, word and sentence level, plus a free speech sample where you talk about a topic of your choice without a script.

Note that this course doesn’t teach you pronunciation from scratch, it assumes you have been taught basic pronunciation and want to improve beyond that.

What do you get?

This is what you get:

  1. A listening check including initials, finals and tones
  2. A detailed analysis of your pronunciation (see below)
  3. A thorough benchmark of your pronunciation
  4. Audio feedback on your priority errors, recorded by me
  5. Detailed explanations of your priority errors (text, audio and graphics)
  6. An in-depth 35-page guide on how to improve pronunciation
  7. Early preview of my tone training course developed for my research

Here’s what the first two pages of the scoring protocol looks like (there are five pages in total). You can click the images for larger versions if you are curious. This is your benchmark and overview, there will also be detailed explanations of the priority errors listed on the first page.

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How do you register?

If you think this sounds great and you want to try it out, all you need to do is to buy the course below. The price is $80, based on the fact that each student takes several hours of my time. This is not an automated assessment, I’m giving you direct, personal feedback!

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Payments are done through PayPal (which also accepts debit/credit cards). Once you have purchased the course, you will be able to download the course material, a guide on how to improve pronunciation as well as further instructions

Everything will be explained in more detail later, but this is a brief overview:

  1. Read the instructions (really)
  2. Complete the audio check
  3. Record the audio
  4. Send the audio to me for analysis
  5. Read the pronunciation guide while you wait
  6. Receive your personal feedback
  7. Go through and understand your feedback
  8. Start improving your pronunciation
  9. Try out my tone training course (contact me directly for this)

Naturally, taking this course doesn’t guarantee that your pronunciation will become perfect, but I have done my very best to provide the tools and the information you need to improve. You will of course still need to spend a lot of time on your own; improving pronunciation is certainly doable, but it’s not easy!

Sign up by purchasing the course here:

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What do people think of the course?

This version is a new and heavily upgraded version of the previous one. These testimonials below refer to the old version, but since I have only added to the course and the additions are partly based on what these people suggested, I’m confident they would be even more satisfied if they took the course again (which they are of course welcome to do).

I have been studying Mandarin on and off for more than 20 years, but this is the first time I’ve accessed such an in-depth, methodical critique of my pronunciation.   Olle’s course is incredibly helpful at isolating errors and suggesting areas to work on.  I just wish something like this had been available when I first started studying, as I fear my pronunciation errors might be too ingrained by now.  I don’t know of anything else like this available on the web, and the fact that it can be done by email using a simple recording device such as a smart phone makes it very accessible.

– Anne B.

Good pronunciation is essential to be understood, especially in Chinese, but often we don´t even know what we are doing wrong. To be aware of your own mistakes is the first step to correct them. This course has given me very accurate information, with examples, of what I pronounce incorrectly. This way is much easier to work to correct the problems. So I can focus on the real issues. It also gives you information on what you do well, which is always very encouraging to keep improving. I have found some mistakes I was not aware of and which are not difficult to correct.

– Ana Herranz Z.

Although many Chinese universities offer pronunciation courses, the level of them varies. Basically you can have a very good and helpful course or then a kind of course that doesn’t really help at all. In your case, I would feel confident to tell my friends you are taking the thing seriously and as a westerner you might be able to help westerners even better than Chinese teachers in some cases. Your course is also a very quick way to identify the most serious problems which gives the learner a good opportunity to start working on them right away.

– Janna L.

Still in development

Even though I have spent a lot of effort developing the contents of this course, it’s still an ongoing project. For instance, the included guide on how to change pronunciation hasn’t been read by many and isn’t perfect in any way. However, instead of being stuck on the tinkering stage for months, I prefer to get things out there and try them out with you. I hope that you’re willing to offer me feedback so I can improve the course!

Improve your pronunciation with the Hacking Chinese pronunciation check

scorecard-smallI’ve found that pronunciation is one of the most neglected areas in Chinese language teaching. Teachers don’t have the time or don’t know how to teach it properly. This means that students are left with bad pronunciation, often without knowing it. The course I’m about to offer in this post is meant to address this.

I have written quite a lot about pronunciation on Hacking Chinese, but here are some highlights:

Of all the students that have hired me over the years, about half have done so to improve pronunciation. Based on the experience I have gained through this and through related research I’ve done and courses I’ve taken, I have created a small pronunciation course. It consists of four parts:

  1.  Identifying sounds and tones
  2.  Producing sounds and tones
  3.  Detailed and accurate feedback
  4.  Live practice and corrections

The course covers the syllable, word and sentence levels and also includes a short talk. After doing the listening and speaking parts, you send your data to me for analysis. You will then receive a score card (see pictures above and below) with detailed information about your pronunciation. The course does currently not involve actual tutoring, but if you’re interested in that as well, we can perhaps arrange something.

Only a handful of students have been through the course in its current form. For instance, this is what I used to help Scott Young improve his pronunciation. The first page of the scorecard looks like this (there are five pages in all):

ss-sample

Why you should take the course

Almost every learner of Chinese I have met have had some basic pronunciation problem. This is true even for intermediate and advanced learners.

The reason I think this course is useful is that it will tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing instead and highlight the difference between the two. Very few teachers have the ability or the time to do this for you. The first step in solving a problem is identifying it.

I have taken at least four master’s degree courses in Chinese phonetics and pronunciation pedagogy, I also do my own research in the area of tone production and perception. I know what I’m talking about and I can explain it to you. I can also apply a systematic and scientific approach to pronunciation.

To make sure I don’t miss anything, I also enlist the help of native speakers. Together, we are more than capable of identifying your pronunciation problems and help you to sound

Register in advance

I will offer this course to the first 20 students who sign up. It will take you about an hour to do the listening and speaking parts, and then it takes me about two hours to analyse your data. Remember, this is done by real people, not by a computer program. All 20 slots have now been filled, if you are interested, you can still contact me and I will get back to you later when it’s time for the next incarnation of the course, probably later this autumn. Sign up by sending me an e-mail!

I will identify problems with perception and production of sounds in Mandarin. The feedback will be systematic, accurate and explained in English with examples. Since this is a preview and the course isn’t perfect yet, the course costs only $45. In return for the low price, I only ask for feedback about the course so I can improve it.

If you don’t get a chance this time around, the course will most likely be available again later, but I can’t promise when. It all depends on how much time I have and what kind of response I receive in general. If you want my help to improve your pronunciation, send me an e-mail and I will contact you next time the course is open.