Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Pronunciation’

  1. Chinese is fascinating and exciting, not weird and stupid

    Languages are neither negative or positive in themselves; it’s all in the eye of the beholder. But does it matter what you think about Chinese language and culture? Is it harder to learn Mandarin if you think the language is weird and stupid? This article looks closer at this question, and argues that deliberately adopting a positive approach will lead to better and more enjoyable learning.

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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. Training your Chinese teacher, part 3: Listening ability

    Listening ability is generally overlooked in language teaching. At first glance, it might seem that having a teacher is not as useful for improving listening as it is for improving speaking, but is that really the case? This article covers both what you should and what you shouldn’t do with your teacher if improving listening ability is your goal!

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  4. 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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  5. How good is voice recognition for learning Chinese pronunciation?

    Speech recognition technology has developed rapidly and can now be relied on to correctly identify standardised and clear pronunciation in Mandarin. But can it be used to check your Mandarin pronunciation? Not necessarily. This article looks at how well speech recognition software deals with non-native and low-quality audio, focusing on the question if speech recognition is too lenient for pronunciation practice.

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  6. Using speech recognition to improve Chinese pronunciation, part 1

    Speech recognition technology has developed rapidly and can now be relied on to correctly identify standardised and clear pronunciation in Mandarin. But can it be used to check your Mandarin pronunciation? Not necessarily. There are two problems that need to be investigated to answer that question. This article looks at the first: If speech recognition is unable to identify what you say, does that mean that your pronunciation is bad, or could it be the speech recognition that isn’t good enough?

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  7. Training your Chinese teacher, part 2: Speaking ability

    Finding a good Chinese teacher is not easy, but there are many things you can do to get more out of the time you spend with your teacher. In the second article in this series, I discuss focusing on speaking ability with a teacher, including what to look for in a good teacher, common problems and how to tackle them, along with some suggestions for more advanced learners.

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  8. Tone errors in Mandarin that actually can cause misunderstandings

    Making certain tone mistakes in Mandarin can lead to amusing situations, such as saying that the chest hair is adorable instead of the pandas you actually meant. However, these types of mistakes seldom lead to actual confusion. There are other tone mistakes that do; if you get them wrong, it can seriously impact your ability to communicate in Chinese!

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  9. Chinese speaking challenge, October 2018

    Chinese speaking ability

    It’s time for a speaking challenge! It starts on October 15th, so enrol, set your goal and improve your speaking ability as much as you can before the end of the month. This article contains more information about the challenge, some important things to keep in mind as well as some advice about improving speaking ability in Chinese.

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  10. Focusing on Mandarin tones without being distracted by Pinyin

    It’s a well-known problem that if Chinese characters and Pinyin appear together, most students will look only at the Pinyin. However, rather than removing all scaffolding, keeping information about tones can be very useful. This article details two methods of doing this, either through colour or through using tone marks only.

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