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你好!

I am currently learning Chinese but I've been struggling with perhaps a very easy sound to do.

How do I pronounce Xué (学)? I know that with "x", it's "sh" with the tip of your tongue on your front bottom teeth. However, managing the tones and the ué seems to be very hard.

By the way, I am not practicing with a native speaker, it's with Siri and voice recognition software. That's one thing I must definitely admit. Is that good practice to use Siri for pronunciation?

Perhaps I could 学 how to say it?

Thank you
Steve Woods.

  • Is it just shoo-e or shoo-ee? I don't feel I should even ask a question here. My questions never get answered and always get deleted. – Steve Woods Aug 2 '18 at 10:22
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Xue can be broken down into three components:

  • X, ipa: ɕ, similar to the English ‘sh’ in sheep but with the tongue placed closer to the teeth.

  • u, ipa: y, not to be confused with ipa letter: u, similar to German: ü; or the u in French: tu

  • e, ipa: e, similar to the “e” in English: yes.

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Tone: second tone in Mandarin, which 学 is, is a 35 on the tonal scale - meaning you need to start kind of high-pitched to begin with and then rise it even higher. It’s often compared to the English intonation of asking a question, with a rise at the end.

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The biggest pitfalls for foreigners: most westerns end up pronouncing 学 more like 水 - I’m not totally sure why because the initials and finals are completely different. Try finding audio to imitate and only treat pinyin as a guide because it won’t match up with English in the way you might imagine it should.

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Here is a chart for pinyin pronunciation, https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-pinyin-chart.php, I use that when I am puzzled.

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