Questions on specific points regarding the ability to use the correct consonants, vowels, tone, stress, rhythm and intonation of a word in a spoken Chinese

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3
votes
3answers
288 views

pronunciation of 人 - regional or gender differences?

To my English tuned ear, these audio files of people pronouncing 人 sound very different. My colleague (a native Mandarin speaker) insists they are the same sound, and thinks I am just confused ...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

Tips for multiple-pronunciation characters (多音字)

This is a broad request for tips, but I have a specific question in mind as well. 尽 can be pronounced as "jin4" or "jin3". In Pleco, the definition for "jin3" is "to the greatest extent" while one ...
11
votes
4answers
669 views

How to pronounce “下载”

How to pronounce the word "下载", "xià zǎi" or "xià zài"? Most Chinese people pronounce it "xià zǎi", but there are some people insist on pronouncing it "xià zài". There are different also different ...
6
votes
1answer
143 views

How does tone sandhi apply in people's names?

Like the title says, the question is simple: what's the proper way to handle tone sandhi in names? Is there something like "pronounce the family name as-is, apply tone sandhi to given name"? Or is ...
6
votes
5answers
763 views

Written Cantonese Pronunciation

I recently attended a Cantonese reading class in Hong Kong and discovered that pronunciation of the spoken form of written Cantonese can be very different from normal speech. The teacher was not able ...
6
votes
4answers
673 views

Pinyin tones pronunciation cheat sheet

I've just started taking Chinese lessons, and I've been trying to find a "cheat sheet" for pinyin pronunciation. All the sites I've found is either incomplete (only having some tones), only having the ...
3
votes
4answers
344 views

Pronunciation of 那个

I'm surprised this question hasn't been asked yet! The pinyin for 那个 is nà gè, but in conversation, Chinese people often pronounce it more like nee-guh than nah-guh. I asked my teacher and she says ...
1
vote
4answers
214 views

Does 上嗨 work as a pun for 上海?

While riding the subway in Shanghai last week, I glanced at the TV playing some commercials and saw what looked like a slightly off spelling of the city's name (上海). I could not get a very good look ...
6
votes
2answers
291 views

What is considered to be the most difficult sound for native English speakers to pronounce?

When I was first learning Chinese, I found the e4 - 饿 & ü3/ü4 - 女/绿 sounds to be the most problematic. Has there been any research into this? If so, what sounds are generally the most problematic ...
6
votes
1answer
260 views

The development of rhotic vowels in Mandarin

Schuessler's reconstruction of the Old Chinese reading of 二 is *ńźi. It seems there is a correspondence between OC syllables beginning in *ń or *ńź and Mandarin syllables romanised as er. However, ...
5
votes
3answers
248 views

pronunciation of 着 in 怎么着

As most of you will probably know, 着 can be pronounced in many ways (depending on the context). I'm wondering how the 着 in 爱怎么着就怎么着 (meaning: do as you like) should be pronounced. Is it zhe or zhao1, ...
5
votes
2answers
305 views

Is it common for zh/j, ch/q, and sh/x to be merged?

I learned formally that in the standard Beijing accent, zh, ch, and sh are pronounced more in the back in the mouth than j, q, and x. However, I got lazy and speak all six of these consonants in the ...
5
votes
9answers
828 views

How can I pronounce 绿 (lü4 - green)?

My wife gave up trying to correct me on how to pronounce green. I find it very hard to get a distinct sound from the word for 绿 (lü4 - green), Lu, and, Liu (as in Liu Bei). Obviously, Lu is exactly ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

Is there a tone sandhi for 2nd-tone-2nd-tone names?

I stayed in Taiwan for a few months and made friends with Tiántián (恬恬, a second tone character repeated twice). However, I heard everyone say her name as Tiǎntián (third tone followed by second ...
2
votes
2answers
101 views

Can 会儿 be pronounced 3rd tone?

The word 会儿 means "a short amount of time." All dictionaries I have checked say that the correct pronunciation of this word is huìr (i.e., 4th tone). Nevertheless, I am fairly sure that I have heard ...
5
votes
4answers
384 views

How to pronounce 儿 in conjunction with other characters

The textbook I'm reading now has liberal sprinklings of the 儿 character suffixing words that I have not previously seen suffixed. For example: 空儿。 How should this be pronounced? Are there any rules ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Characteristics of Northern and Southern accents

My first language is Cantonese. I learned Mandarin as a second language. Native speakers of Mandarin often understand me with no major issues. Of course, they recognize the Southern accents right ...
7
votes
3answers
365 views

Why is it written LIU in Pinyin, when there's clearly an O sound?

Does anybody know why this decision was made in Pinyin, about not writing any hint of the sound /O/ in liu, instead of writing something like liou or liow ? Because the first reaction of any ...
5
votes
2answers
521 views

Different pronounciation for the number 'one'?

Was talking to my friend (native Chinese) the other day and when she read out a phone number she said "yao" for all the "ones" in the phone number. However, as far as I remember, for all other cases ...
12
votes
3answers
586 views

血: xuè , xiě, what's the difference?

Is there some sort of logical rule for when 血 is xuè and when it is xiě?
9
votes
6answers
472 views

Do acronyms borrowed from English use neutral tone (aka tone 0 or tone 5) for all syllables?

I was just reading a Q&A here about Chinese words for DVD and the discussion also included other acronyms from English. It struck me that nobody wrote the pinyin for any of the terms which made ...
8
votes
2answers
209 views

Where can I find recordings of people reading things now that mp3.baidu.com is dead? [closed]

Baidu's MP3 search engine used to be my first stop when studying anything Chinese. Absurdly, even recordings of relatively rare poetry (for instance) were easy to find. These recordings were not ...
8
votes
4answers
297 views

When is the spelling and the pronunciation different?

I noticed that sometimes certain finals in Chinese sound differently when combined with different initials. For e.g., what is spelled "u" sometimes is pronounced "ü". Other times, I think the final ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How to convert from hanyu pinyin to IPA?

Where can I find a table showing the relation between Hanyu pinyin spelling and IPA for all phonemes in Mandarin?
10
votes
3answers
283 views

When do the tones change?

Sometimes, in certain combinations of tones or words, the tones change. Where can I find a complete list of all tone changes that occur in Mandarin?
8
votes
6answers
1k views

What software can correct pronunciation?

What software is available which can record my voice and warn me about problems with my pronunciation and tones?
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Where can I find audio recordings of every word?

Where can I find audio recordings (i.e. individual MP3s or WAVs) for every Chinese word? I have found some recordings of Chinese, but these only contain individual phonemes, not entire words. I am ...
2
votes
3answers
127 views

Which tone is it (in pinyin)?

Following on from this question Asking "what's the pinyin/character for X?". I've had difficulty previously asking native speakers which tone I should use for a particular character if ...
6
votes
6answers
476 views

Pronunciation of “因为”

因为 is usually pronounced as yīn wèi, but sometimes I hear it pronounced as yīn wéi which really brings out the meaning as reason (yīn) being (wéi). Which pronunciation came about first? Do regional ...
8
votes
7answers
3k views

Tips for pronouncing X vs SH in Mandarin?

I'd like to think my Mandarin pronunciation is generally pretty reasonable, but I often get tripped up with X and SH - for example words like 雪 and 水, or 虾 and 莎. Even with different tones, I find ...
6
votes
5answers
251 views

Why do I see 我 for I, but is pronounced WAH

I'm corrected to pronounce WAH instead of "wǒ." Is it the same and I just hear it wrong in my head? Or is there a difference in dialect?
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is 的 (de) sometimes pronounced “di” even though it is used as a possessive particle?

I've noticed sometimes the word 的 is pronounced as "di" rather than "de". I'm aware that there is a valid use of 的 with pronunciation "di", which means "really and trully". However for the sentence: ...
4
votes
5answers
259 views

Why do Chinese “extend” the last word when speaking?

I've hear on many occasions that Chinese prolong the last word in a sentence, for example: ni hao ma ? becomes ni hao maaaaa ? (I'm not sure that's clear enough but can't think of a better ...
11
votes
7answers
4k views

How is the “r” sound pronounced?

One of the most trickiest sounds to pronounce correctly in Mandarin seems to be the "r" sound, as in 日本 (rì běn). It's not uncommon to hear people pronounce that like "urban." I have been told it's ...
13
votes
3answers
203 views

Character Pronunciation Clues

Is there any way to know what a character's pronunciation or tone is, based on the strokes or radicals that make up the characters?
20
votes
7answers
1k views

Techniques for improving pronunciation

Are there any recommended resources or methodologies to improve ones Chinese pronunciation? Besides having a native speaker at your disposal, are there any tools that can help to correct ...