Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Tones’

  1. Why is listening in Chinese so hard?

    Most students think that listening in Chinese is hard, but how much of that is just listening being difficult in general and how much is attributable to Chinese specifically? This article covers both aspects and discusses reasons why listening is difficult, both in general and for Chinese in particular.

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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. The Hacking Chinese guide to Mandarin tones

    Learning tones is one of the major challenges of learning Mandarin and other Chinese dialects. This guide describes what tones are, why they are important and how to learn them. The article collects information and advice from more than twenty articles about learning tones, along with resources and references for further reading.

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  7. Training and testing your ability to hear Mandarin sounds

    Learning to hear the sounds in a new language is a very important step, both to understand it and to pronounce it yourself. This article gives you methods and tools for training and testing your ability to hear the sounds of Mandarin.

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  8. Obligatory and optional tone change rules in Mandarin

    From a student perspective, there are two types of tone changes in Mandarin: obligatory and optional. The first kind you really have to know about, the second is mostly the natural result of speaking more quickly.

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  9. 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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  10. 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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