Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Pinyin’

  1. Why learning Chinese pronunciation by using English words is a really bad idea

    Learning Mandarin pronunciation is not easy, so some people use English words to approximate Chinese pronunciation. This is a really bad idea.

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  2. Does using colour to represent Mandarin tones make them easier to learn?

    Some learning materials, apps and tools allow you to add colours to show Mandarin tones, but is this really helpful? This article discusses the ins and outs of using colour to learn and remember tones, along with some practical considerations.

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  3. Two types of pronunciation problems and what to do about them

    Many assume that when someone gets pronunciation wrong, they haven’t learnt how to produce that sound correctly yet. This is not always the case, though, because there is another reason that is perhaps even more likely to be the cause of the problem! What are the two types of problems and what can we do about them?

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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 24 great resources for improving your Mandarin pronunciation

    In this article, I list 24 great resources for learning pronunciation. Naturally, some of them are limited to Mandarin Chinese, but many are more general in nature and works for other Chinese dialects or even other languages. Resources are sorted into Basic sound references, Pronunciation explained, Advice on learning pronunciation and Useful software and applications.

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  8. Focus on initials and finals, not Pinyin spelling

    Instead of worrying too much about Pinyin spelling and what sounds each letter represents, students of Mandarin should zoom out a bit and focus on initials and finals as whole units. There are only around 60 of them and focusing on them will pay off handsomely.

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  9. Adding tone marks (w/o Pinyin) above characters to practise tones

    Reading in Chinese is hard, but if we use too much Pinyin, we will never get used to reading characters. Adding tones (but not Pinyin) above characters is a good way of helping us to focus on tone production, separating the problem of remembering tones from the problem of producing tones, enabling us to focus on the latter.

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  10. A guide to Pinyin traps and pitfalls: Learn Mandarin pronunciation

    Learning Chinese pronunciation can be tricky and there are several places where foreigners often make mistakes. This article is a guide to some common problems students encounter while learning Pinyin. The hope is that this guide will make good pronunciation easier to achieve.

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