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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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 ...
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: ...
13
votes
3answers
202 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?
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?
12
votes
7answers
494 views

How do native speakers of Chinese pronounce Latin characters?

I hear that "Windows XP" is commonly called "Chā P" because the letter "X" may be pronounced "Chā". Are there other Latin characters that have similarly peculiar pronunciations?
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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
6answers
388 views

How do Chinese speakers pronounce unknown characters?

I'm wondering what do Chinese speakers do when they are reading aloud and encounter a character they don't know (sometimes it happens, isn't it?). In phonetic languages, there is a possibility to ...
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?
9
votes
3answers
368 views

How is the 儿 ending pronounced outside Beijing?

When Beijingers use words like 一点儿, the ending syllable will be very pronounced as far as I understand, and I'm aware that this is a typical feature of the Beijing dialect. But how is it pronounced in ...
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
288 views

How do non-native speakers get to perceive tones in Chinese?

Recently I've been teaching an English-speaking friend some basics about Chinese, but inevitably he got stuck with the tones. I've demonstrated to him the 4 tones with audio files, yet it seems hard ...
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
295 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
259 views

Pronunciation of 和 in Taiwan

This is something that I noticed in Taiwanese Mandarin TV series and films. It seems that they pronounce this character as hàn instead of the commonly accepted hé. For example, 我和你 is pronounced wǒ ...
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?
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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
401 views

Pronunciation of 一 in 一个

When I first learnt the numbers, I learnt 一 with the first tone yi1. But now, during a Memrise lesson, they teach me that 一个 should be pronounced yi2 ge4 or yi2 ge5. Is this correct and, if so, is ...
7
votes
1answer
305 views

Pinyin “ying” has an “o” sound?

Look at 1:54 and 5:22 of this video: Chinese Pinyin in 6 Mins Is ying really pronounced with an "o" sound? This seems counterintuitive, especially when yin (at 1:49 in the video) sounds as a native ...
7
votes
4answers
204 views

Regional variations on 三更半夜

A couple years ago, I was at a Chinese(-American) gathering and the topic of 成语 came up. One of them was 三更半夜. My family is from Hangzhou, and previously I had always known of it as 深更半夜. On the other ...
7
votes
5answers
787 views

How is the pinyin 'iu' pronounced?

How does one pronounce the 'iu' sound (as in liu4 = six)? I have always said it and heard it to end in an [joʊ] sound, as in 'low', 'go', and 'sew'. But once I was told that it should actually be a ...
7
votes
3answers
169 views

How to distinguish the difference between the pronunciation of different erhuayin?

For example, 小黄儿, 小欢儿, 小花儿; 唱歌儿, 树根儿, 一横儿; What's the difference? I can't understand the difference between each phonetic symbol in the same row in the table below: The picture is from ...
6
votes
3answers
359 views

Does ancient Chinese have tones (声调)?

This question has puzzled me since I have no training in ancient Chinese and ancient phonetics. What is puzzling me is the following facts: The tones in different regions are quite different. If ...
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?
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?
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 ...
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
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
5answers
505 views

Are there any free fonts designed to help learn/read Chinese?

Problem As a Chinese student I found that one of the first barrier is reading. Indeed, when trying to acquire new vocabulary one might be faced with the opacity of the Chinese character as opposed to ...
6
votes
2answers
251 views

Similar pronunciations of tea/茶 across languages

The Cantonese (Yale cha4), Mandarin (pinyin chá) and Kan’yōon (cha) pronounciations of 茶 are similar to the Russian чай (IPA t͡ɕaj) word for tea. Do these have a common origin?
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
4answers
671 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 ...
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
377 views

Is “biang” a phonologically possible syllable in Mandarin Chinese?

One of the local specialty favourite dishes in Shaanxi province where I am now is Biángbiáng miàn. Photo by hippietrail The hanzi character for "biáng" is usually the focus of discusssions of this ...
5
votes
5answers
203 views

地 pronunciation variation

May I know how the rules governing the pronunciation of 地? In the song, 吻别, the singer pronounces 地 as di. 冷得连隐藏的遗憾都那么地明显 leng de lian yin cang de yi han du na me di ming xian However, a ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
520 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
260 views

说服: shuìfú vs. shuōfú

I've been trying to find some sort of indication as to the differences between these two pronunciations for 说服: shuìfú vs. shuōfú. I used to always read it: shuōfú, until I was corrected by a ...
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
262 views

Chinese [Topolectical] IPA Placeholder: Ẓ

I've asked this elsewhere before but without much luck so I'm just gonna paste what I wrote before: I ran across "Ẓ" use some what in some old texts used as a sort-of "IPA" then to make sure I ...
5
votes
3answers
221 views

Is 去 (qù) pronunced /tɕʰu/ or /tɕʰy/?

I'm a struggling very beginner having difficulties with both pronunciation and Pinyin. I dabble in linguistics so I'm accustomed to dealing with IPA pronunciations. For this reason I have been ...
5
votes
1answer
528 views

What is the correct pronunciation of 垃圾?

The word 垃圾 is sometimes pronounced laji, but other times I've seen it pronounced as lese, which pronunciation is deemed to be more correct? Are they both interchangeable?
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
236 views

Why is the 車 in Chinese chess pronounced jū?

The 車 in Chinese chess is pronounced jū. Why isn't it pronounced chē? Is this pronunciation used outside of Chinese chess?
5
votes
1answer
224 views

Why is “小小” pronounced as “xué xiǎo”?

In the classic 相声《卖马》, near the beginning is a line that goes: 在下王老好的便是,就在这潞州天堂县开了一个*小小*的店房 but in that line, "小小" was pronounced as "xué xiǎo". Here's a clip: ...
5
votes
2answers
304 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
826 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
206 views

Strategies to discourage uptalk in Chinese language learners?

In my beginning Chinese class, many students consistently pronounce tones incorrectly when answering questions aloud. I realize this is expected of beginners, but I've noticed that it happens most ...
4
votes
8answers
1k views

How to pronounce the “的” in “他妈的”?

How usually native chinese speaker pronounce the “的” orally in “他妈的”? Is it "Ta Ma De" or "Ta Ma Di"?