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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.
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:
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.
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:
Course registration closes on midnight, February 5th!
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 four 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.
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!