1
敢吗?= Dare you?
干嘛? = What's up? What are you doing?

Do you pronounce them both the same and depending on the context, people can understand what you mean?

or

Do you pronounce them both a little bit differently which new beginners can hardly hear the difference?

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    It's unclear if you know about tones or not. If you do, I hope you don't feel offended by my comment, but the way you word your question makes it sound like you might not know how tones work. Do you think that 买(mǎi) “to buy" sounds "a little bit different" from "卖 (mài) "to sell" too? What about other things that only differ in tone? If you indeed think these are only minor differences, you need to go through a basic description of tones! I wrote a fairly extensive guide here: hackingchinese.com/the-hacking-chinese-guide-to-mandarin-tones – Olle Linge Mar 4 at 20:16
  • Yes I know about the 4 tones ā, á, ǎ and à. Can I rely on the Phonetics e.g. mǎi, mài provided by Google Translation to determine which tone a Mandarin character/word has? – O Connor Mar 10 at 15:01
  • Mostly, but using a dictionary is more reliable. – Olle Linge Mar 10 at 15:38
  • So I better have a Mandarin dictionary which includes tones. – O Connor Mar 10 at 15:44
  • All dictionaries have tones. Here are some suggestions: hackingchinese.com/… – Olle Linge Mar 11 at 9:11
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敢吗?= Dare you? = gǎn ma?

干嘛? = What's up? What are you doing? = gàn má?

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  • So you mean you don't pronounce them the same, but a little bit different. – O Connor Mar 4 at 16:15
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    @OConnor The tones are different. – monalisa Mar 4 at 19:27
  • Can I rely on the Phonetics e.g. gǎn ma, gàn má provided by Google Translation to determine which tone a Mandarin character/word has? – O Connor Mar 10 at 14:57
  • @OConnor I would assume most of Google Translate's phonetic annotations are good especially when the character is in a word or phrase. Do notice, that some characters have multiple pronunciations when combined into different words and often have different meanings in such cases. – bfrguci Mar 12 at 20:52

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