As far as I understand the Chinese language makes heave use of tones and inclinations for oral conversation. How do people who have a stuffed nose or sore throat deal with the tones then? Do they become hard to understand to their peers?

  • 1
    Biologically, a stuffed nose only influences nasal consonants and vowels. I don't imagine Chinese tones, which are basically only pitch-based, are affected either way. A sore throat affects sounds in various different ways: are you able to be more specific about which?
    – Michaelyus
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 12:34
  • Yes, pretty certainly. I am a foreigner and during the first few years such problems gave me a lot of trouble when speaking Chinese. After about 3 years the effects where comparable to the effects on my native language, i.e. beauty is affected, intelligibility isn't. Of course there are levels of hoarseness that make any language impossible to speak...
    – Ludi
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


I think I am able to pronounce words with correct tones when my nose is stuffed since the pronunciation doesn't really rely on nasal sound but rather the sudden change in pitch.

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