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Learning the pronunciation of a new language can be fascinating, opening a whole new world of sound.
But it can also be frustrating, especially when dealing with something you have never encountered before, such as tones.
Many students feel discouraged when native speakers don’t understand what they’re saying, or when they can’t hear the difference between tones or similar sounds.
Hacking Chinese Pronunciation: Speaking with Confidence contains everything you need to both understand and pronounce the sounds and tones in Mandarin. Initials, finals, tones and prosody are covered in 23 video lessons, along with easy-to-follow instructions for how to learn or improve your pronunciation.
I conducted a survey of more than 300 students, and many said that they should have focused more on pronunciation from the start:
I should’ve focused more on hitting the tones of every new word I learned.
Many of my classmates still get many sounds wrong, but the teacher almost never corrects them.
I was taught Pinyin in te first few weeks of class, after that it was all characters and words.
I should have spent more time with pronunciation, especially the tones.
Much later, I found out that I had mixed up the second tone and the fourth tone, and I had to work hard to reverse that.
Don’t listen to the people who say “don’t worry about the tones”!
Take control of your learning and make sure your pronunciation is up to par:
This course contains both the strategies you need to master pronunciation and the materials you need to practice. Apart from explaining sounds and tones, the course also uses high-quality audio recorded by native speakers, along with visual representations of sound and tones.
If the course does not meet your expectations, I’ll be happy to give 100% of your money back, no questions asked.
I’m confident the course is useful. It’s built on more than a decade of experience learning and teaching Chinese, and the actual problems students face.
In my language journey, I’ve found that good upfront pronunciation is the foundation… so when I started to learn Mandarin, I was on the lookout for the best material. Since then, I’ve completed a half-dozen pronunciation courses, so I can confidently say that Olle’s is the best-organized course for beginners. It’s also the most comprehensive for intermediates like me. I wish I started with it—I wouldn’t have needed any other pronunciation courses!
Working through the Hacking Chinese pronunciation course allows me to spend the time I need to truly understand how to physically make the sounds. The way Olle presents initials and finals as finite quantities that can be mastered gave me hope. I come back to the videos frequently to refresh my ear and memory; it’s an excellent resource. My tutor (who is a Beijing native) spontaneously told me my pronunciation was better, without knowing I was taking Olle’s course.
– Del Rey
My pronunciation has improved significantly since taking this course, but my listening comprehension in particular has made great strides. I’ve already got feedback from my Chinese friends regarding an improvement in my overall tones and pronunciation. For me, as someone who had never studied phonetics before and studied Pinyin transcription in a “learning by doing” way, the phonetic insights and tips were the most valuable. I would really like to highly recommend this course!
Here is an excerpt from lesson 2 in section 4, talking about tone pairs:
Tones are the biggest hurdle for most students, sometimes even after years of learning Chinese. It doesn’t have to be like that! Learn how to hear and say the tones correctly, including in context. This course offers in-depth explanations of how tones work, as well as practical exercises and hundreds of high-quality audio files for listening and speaking.
Initials, or the beginning of a Mandarin syllable, can also be problematic. What’s the difference between z/c/s and zh/ch/sh? And how on earth are j/q/x supposed to be pronounced? No more confusion! I explain all these systematically and clearly, along with practical exercises for you to work on, alone or with a tutor.
Finals, or the end of a Mandarin syllable, can also be difficult to get right. Sometimes, this is because Pinyin spelling is not obvious, such as ju/qu/xu being pronounced jü/qü/xü even if there are no dots, or the six or seven different sound hiding behind the two letters i and e. Getting the finals right is important both for those striving for clear communication and those who want to approach a native-like pronunciation and lose that foreign accent.
There are two options available for this course:
I keep telling new students who ask: do spend much more time initially on pronunciation than you intuitively feel like, the importance of clear speech in Mandarin is hard to over-emphasize and will make a big difference. I highly recommend taking Olle’s course to invest in good speaking ability.
– Johan Annell, management consultant
This is the first two pages of the non-beginner feedback protocol. Naturally, you will receive help to make sense of everything! Beginners receive feedback earlier and with shorter intervals, since an overall assessment is not that useful.
This is excellent! The professional feedback was great, and I am improving where I couldn’t before. I wish this had been around when I started out learning Mandarin, but am delighted its available now and highly recommend it for a deep and clear understanding of exactly how to pronounce Mandarin Chinese properly. Make no mistake, this is the course you need.
– Simon, physician
For me, what pushed me to take the course was the chance to get real feedback on my pronunciation.
Section 1: Learning Mandarin Pronunciation
Lesson 1: Welcome to the Course (17:29)
Lesson 2: Speaking and Writing Sounds (20:50)
Lesson 3: Mandarin Pronunciation in a Nutshell (12:34)
Lesson 4: Learning and Improving Pronunciation (25:54)
Lesson 5: Mimicking Native Speakers (20:31)
Section 2: Mastering Mandarin Tones
Lesson 1: The Four Tones in Mandarin (25:28)
Lesson 2 : Tones in Context (19:35)
Lesson 3: The Neutral Tone (16:45)
Lesson 4: Tone Pairs (31:22)
Section 3: Learning Mandarin Initials
Lesson 1: Mandarin Initials (18:48)
Lesson 2: Aspiration and Stops (15:38)
Lesson 3: Series with S (14:37)
Lesson 4: Series with SH (17:59)
Lesson 5: Series with X (19:56)
Section 4: Learning Mandarin Finals
Lesson 1: Mandarin Finals (21:21)
Lesson 2: Combinations with A (10:44)
Lesson 3: Combinations with U (14:27)
Lesson 4: Combinations with I (14:50)
Lesson 5: Combinations with E (12:52)
Lesson 6: Combinations with Ü (14:50)
Lesson 7: Remaining Finals (13:26)
Section 5: Sounding More Natural When Speaking Chinese
Lesson 1: Mandarin Prosody in a Nutshell (05:40)
Lesson 2: Intonation and Tones (10:51)
Lesson 3: Rhythm and Stress (15:19)
Lesson 4: Towards More Natural Pronunciation (19:33)
Here is an excerpt from lesson 4 in section 2, talking about tone finals beginning with a:
This pronunciation course is meant both for students who have no experience learning Chinese and more experienced learners who struggle with pronunciation. If your Mandarin is already so good that you can fool natives into thinking that you’re a native speaker for a short time, this course is not for you.
The course contains many types of content:
Hi! My name is Olle Linge. I started learning Chinese when I was 23. Since then, I have studied in many settings: serious immersion programs abroad, high-intensity programs at home, online courses, as well as on the side while working or studying other things.
I’ve also studied in a graduate program for teaching Chinese as a second language, taught entirely in Chinese mostly for native speakers, and have taught Chinese for many years, including courses in professional development for teachers.
Pronunciation is my favourite part of learning Chinese, but that doesn’t mean that I learnt the tones with ease. Instead, I struggled in the beginning, misunderstanding how the third tone works, which took me dozens of hours of sweat and tears to fix later. In order to help others, I have since then studied and researched Chinese pronunciation pedagogy, including post-graduate courses in Chinese Acoustic Phonetics (漢語實驗語音學) and Chinese Phonetic Instruction (話語語音教學研究).
What do I get when I enroll in the course?
You will get full access to all course content. You can then watch the video episodes and work through the content at your own pace.
How long is the course?
The video episodes add up to roughly seven hours, but working your way through all the content takes much longer than that. I estimate that the course takes between 50 and 100 hours to go through in its entirety, but don’t worry if that sounds daunting, you’re not supposed to do all at once and most students don’t need all parts of the course! But it’s nice to know that the content is there, if you need it.
How much will I know when I’ve completed the course?
You will have solid foundations of all areas of pronunciation. Naturally, practice makes perfect, so you also need to invest time and energy into actually listening to and pronouncing Chinese to make progress. It’s a bit like a recipe for baking bread in that I can tell you how to do it and give you the ingredients you need, but you have to bake the bread. I can help you, but I can’t do it for you.
I’m an intermediate/advanced student, is this course relevant for me?
If you struggle with pronunciation, then yes. It’s surprisingly common to have problems with pronunciation even for people who have studied for years. Don’t feel too bad if you’re in this situation, at least you know about it and since you’re reading this, willing to do something about it! You should also know that you’re definitely not alone.
When does the course start? When does it end?
The course is only open for enrollment when I have time to deal with a new batch of students. The bulk of the course consists of video, audio, images and text, but since there are feedback and coaching options, the course only open for enrollment at certain times. However, once enrolled, you can always access the course content, including new updates I might publish for later versions of the same course.
What if I don’t like the course?
Don’t worry! I have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means that if you buy the course and then find that it’s not for you, I’ll give you your money back. After all, the goal is to help you improve the way you learn Chinese, and if I can’t achieve that goal, I’ll return your money, no questions asked. Please note that you can not demand a refund for feedback or coaching options.
What do I need to use the course? Is everything included?
You need a device connected to the internet. The contents are provided online, but can be downloaded as well if you want to use them when travelling or when you’re offline. The course is a stand-alone product and requires no further purchases to be effective. If you choose the course package that includes feedback, you need a device to record your pronunciation, but a normal smartphone will do.
How can I get in touch if I have more questions?
You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m still working my way through the course, but judging from the videos that I’ve watched, this course will be worth my time and money invested. Full marks so far!
– Glenn, fee-only insurance consultant
What I liked most are the clear examples, professional presentation and plenty of examples. Very clear explanations. Very organized and thought out. The tone of the course is always encouraging. You can proceed at your own pace and go back to review parts that you are not sure of. Highly recommend!
– Leland, retired rheumatologist
I started learning Chinese because I wanted to talk with business contacts in Beijing without translators and Olle Lǎoshī has helped me with that. He emphasises the importance of correct pronunciation from the very start and doesn’t let you pass with bad pronunciation or tones. I have also taken online lessons with Olle Lǎoshī and can highly recommend him as a teacher of Chinese.
– Johan Årström, senior advisor, Årström Energy Solutions
Not sure if the course is suitable for you or if you will like the content? The course is built on thousands of hours of studying, teaching and researching how to learn and teach Chinese. I’m confident the course is good, but we’re all different, and what if it doesn’t work for you?
Don’t worry! I have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means that if you enroll in the course and then find that you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back. After all, the goal is to help you improve your pronunciation, and if I can’t achieve that goal, I’ll return your money, no questions asked.
Please note that the refund policy does not cover feedback or coaching once once you have started to submit recordings.
Honestly, though, I think you will look back at this a year from now and consider this an investment worth making. Learning pronunciation from scratch or fixing problems later on is not easy, so increasing your chances of succeeding is well worth it!
Hacking Chinese Pronunciation: Speaking with Confidence teaches the sounds and tones in Mandarin, but also gives you the tools and resources you need to practise effectively. The course highlights common problems and helps you both hear and pronounce whatever it is you’re having trouble with.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your pronunciation is good, unless someone has made an objective assessment that show you clearly that this is the case. Native speakers often want to encourage foreigners who learn their language, and so will tell you that your pronunciation is great, even if it’s not. I’ve taught many, many intermediate and advanced students and almost none have clear pronunciation, let alone native-like pronunciation.
Learning to pronounce a language as foreign as Chinese takes time and dedication, but you also need to go about it the right way, otherwise you risk cementing bad habits, making it even harder to improve later. Get started today!