In the dialogs of the FSI course, there are quite a few places where zen4me (with a falling tone) is used in the sense of zhe4me (这么). For example: Nǐ zěnme zènme wǎn [lái le]? I haven't been able to find this form in any online dictionary either searching for zen4 or 怎么. Nor is it to be found as an alternate pronunciation of 这么. Because they don't use sinographs in FSI, it is a bit of a mystery to me. This form manifestly occurs, but what sign does zen4 in zen4me correspond to?

I'd like to point out it is not a phonetic question. I mean the speakers clearly distinguish z/zh in other words.

  • I think you can treat it as a dialect or accent.
    – fefe
    Nov 19 '20 at 14:09
  • I've edited the question to make it clear it is not an accent issue.
    – Papa Smurf
    Nov 19 '20 at 14:58
  • 2
    Just because they distinguish between the sounds doesn't mean it's not about dialect or accent?
    – Olle Linge
    Nov 19 '20 at 15:43
  • "it is not a phonetic question" I disagree. This question is indeed about sinographs, but it is also related to phonetics. Nov 20 '20 at 9:12
  • 1
    Just because it is about sounds does not mean it is about their physical realization (phonetics). It is actually an orthoepy question (grapheme to logical sound mapping).
    – Papa Smurf
    Nov 20 '20 at 16:47

It could well be an alternative, dialectal pronunciation of 这么. See this answer:


  • Thanks for pointing this out. I think the question mentions exactly the same phenomenon mine does; in this case the answer is not the one you reference. This one is more to the point: chinese.stackexchange.com/a/19262/26811
    – Papa Smurf
    Nov 20 '20 at 16:30

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