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Many Mandarin Chinese teachers claim that the step 1 for Learning Chinese is: Sounds (Pinyins).

How different is it to English sounds and are there any good tips to learn?

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closed as too broad by deutschZuid, songyuanyao, NS.X., Claw, 杨以轩 Apr 29 '14 at 2:24

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

When you say Sounds do you mean initials and finals or tones? – 50-3 Apr 25 '14 at 23:56
I meant the sound or Pinyin systems, including initials and finals or tones. – Chinese.Tutor.Frank Apr 26 '14 at 1:34
Um... you need to study up on Chinese and English phonologies. This is not something that can be easily covered on a Q and A site. Closed as too broad. – deutschZuid Apr 28 '14 at 2:45
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Don't connect Chinese sounds to English sounds (or any other language, for that matter). It will only hinder your pronunciation.

For example:

A lot of learners want to connect 'xi' with the English 'she' - but first the Chinese 'x' is represented by the IPA letter ɕ where as the English 'sh' is represented by IPA ʃ - although it might be considered a variation (by some) but it certainly is not the same!

These kinds of things often leave foreigners sounding 洋腔洋调 because they're just using sounds from other languages.

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I found listening to music really helped when learning - artists from Taiwan and the south tend to sing more clearly in my opinion. perhaps you could start there.

Also, it is worth noting that in English we have around 8000 unique syllables, whereas in (mandarin) Chinese there are only around 400 (multiply this by 4 for the tones).

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