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Many Mandarin pronunciation guides suggest pronouncing the ü vowel with a tense tongue in mid-mouth as when pronouncing the "yi" sound.

However, for words starting with q, j, x, many sites suggest placing the tongue so it grazes the back of your bottom teeth.

For ü words that start with q, j, and x, how do you reconcile these tips?

Should the tongue graze the back of your bottom teeth, or should the tongue hold the position of the "yi" sound?

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Use this guidance, it is entirely correct. This guy (John Pasden) has been the resident "foreign learner" on ChinesePod podcasts nearly from the beginning, for many years, before opening his own company.

Or on his other site, even with tongue placement pictures.

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  • This reminds me that when one of my American friends pronounced The Da Vinci Code, what he made for 'ci' in 'Vinci' was exactly the same as X pronunciation in Chinese. I think the key is to pronounce sh sound with your teeth, (while most of time sh is pronounced in the middle part of your tongue). The same thing for q and j, you just need to pronounce ch and j with your teeth. – dan Jun 17 '18 at 6:40
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However, for words starting with q, j, x, many sites suggest placing the tongue so it grazes the back of your bottom teeth.

I think this statement is wrong. When I pronounced j and q, the position of my tongue just slightly grazed the palate, the top part of the mouth. X seems not to make my tongue moving, almost in its relaxing position. Basically, j is pronounced as the character 鸡,q -> 七,x -> 西.

When you pronounce 去, you just need to conflate the pronunciations of the character 七 and 玉. 玉 is the same as ü with the forth tone applied.

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