Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Pronunciation’

  1. Mimicking native speakers as a way of learning Chinese

    Using Audacity to mimic native speakers

    Mimicking native speakers very closely is one of my favourite ways of learning a number of things, but mainly pronunciation and intonation. It’s also a good way of learning vocabulary and grammar. This article contains step-by-step instructions for how to mimic your way to the next level!

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  2. 7 kinds of tone problems and what to do about them


    Tones are tricky to learn and students often encounter many different kinds of problems. Since the solution to them are very different, it’s important to understand what the problem actually is before you try to do something about it!

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  3. Should you learn the pronunciation of radicals?

    Pronunciation of radicals

    Learning character components in general is good, but should you learn the pronunciation of radicals? The answer can be both “yes” and “no” depending on what you mean!

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  4. Learning tones in Mandarin is not optional


    Learning tones in Mandarin is not optional. The longer you wait before paying attention to tones, the more you will have to relearn later. If you don’t know the tone, you don’t know the word. It takes time to learn to hear tones and treat them as integral parts of syllables, but the sooner you start, the better.

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  5. Learning to pronounce Mandarin with Pinyin, Zhuyin and IPA: Part 3


    As adults, understanding is important when learning pronunciation. One way to achieve this is through the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which will allow you to see the sounds your ears might fail to hear. Learning IPA also means learning basic phonetics, and that will do you good in the long run!

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  6. Improving pronunciation beyond the basics


    Learning pronunciation beyond the basics is about knowing where you want to be and where you are now. Then you identify which problems keep you from reaching your goal, and solve them one by one in order of importance. This starts with high-quality practice where you learn to pronounce something correctly, then moves to high-quantity practice where you gradually decrease the effort needed to get it right. After a while, no effort will be required and you will have successfully improved your pronunciation!

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  7. About right and wrong when learning Chinese


    What does it mean when something is said to be “correct” in Chinese? Who’s right if all the people around you say something, but the dictionary says something else? Mandarin is a huge language spoken my a very large number of people, so some variation is to be expected. This article is about the flexibility of Mandarin and how to deal with it as a student.

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  8. Learning to pronounce Mandarin with Pinyin, Zhuyin and IPA: Part 2


    Which transcription system should you use for Mandarin Chinese: Pinyin, Zhuyin or perhaps IPA? Which system you start out with isn’t extremely important, but if you care about pronunciation, it certainly helps to learn more than one system. In this article, I discuss the pros and cons of all three systems and offer some advice about learning pronunciation.

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  9. Learning to pronounce Mandarin with Pinyin, Zhuyin and IPA: Part 1


    Learning to pronounce Mandarin involves several steps. You need to first discriminate between and then identify the sounds, but you also need to be able to write them down and also be able to read how words are pronounced. In this article, I discuss this process and how you should go about it. It also contains advice for what to avoid!

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  10. How learning some basic theory can improve your pronunciation


    Achieving native-like pronunciation in a foreign language as an adult learner isn’t easy. The strategy to get there needs to incorporate large amounts of practice, mimicking and feedback, but I’m convinced that we can also benefit from a small portion of theoretical knowledge. Pronunciation theory can, among other things, help us notice details we did know about before.

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