Questions tagged [pronunciation]

Questions regarding the correct consonants, vowels, tone, stress, rhythm and intonation of a word in spoken Chinese

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28
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7answers
3k views

Techniques for improving pronunciation

Are there any recommended resources or methodologies to improve ones Chinese pronunciation? Besides having a native speaker at your disposal, are there any tools that can help to correct ...
26
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6answers
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Why is Russia translated to 俄罗斯(E Luo Si)?

The Chinese Wikipedia article describes the name of Russia, and many of its historical Chinese exonyms. 按照俄语发音“Россия”,其名称应翻译为“羅西亚”。元朝时根据蒙古语译为「斡羅思」[b],到清朝初年许多文献中曾称为「羅剎」[c],但在以国家相称时则多译为「鄂羅斯」[d]或「...
25
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8answers
2k views

How do native speakers of Chinese pronounce Latin characters?

I hear that "Windows XP" is commonly called "Chā P" because the letter "X" may be pronounced "Chā". Are there other Latin characters that have similarly peculiar pronunciations?
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6answers
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Why is 的 (de) sometimes pronounced “di” even though it is used as a possessive particle?

I've noticed sometimes the word 的 is pronounced as "di" rather than "de". I'm aware that there is a valid use of 的 with pronunciation "di", which means "really and trully". However for the sentence: ...
23
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4answers
9k views

血: xuè , xiě, what's the difference?

Is there some sort of logical rule for when 血 is xuè and when it is xiě?
20
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10answers
30k views

How is the “r” sound pronounced?

One of the most trickiest sounds to pronounce correctly in Mandarin seems to be the "r" sound, as in 日本 (rì běn). It's not uncommon to hear people pronounce that like "urban." I have been told it's ...
20
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7answers
10k views

How do Chinese speakers pronounce unknown characters?

I'm wondering what do Chinese speakers do when they are reading aloud and encounter a character they don't know (sometimes it happens, isn't it?). In phonetic languages, there is a possibility to ...
17
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10answers
25k views

Tips for pronouncing X vs SH in Mandarin?

I'd like to think my Mandarin pronunciation is generally pretty reasonable, but I often get tripped up with X and SH - for example words like 雪 and 水, or 虾 and 莎. Even with different tones, I find ...
17
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2answers
1k views

How do non-native speakers get to perceive tones in Chinese?

Recently I've been teaching an English-speaking friend some basics about Chinese, but inevitably he got stuck with the tones. I've demonstrated to him the 4 tones with audio files, yet it seems hard ...
16
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7answers
2k views

Why is it written LIU in Pinyin, when there's clearly an O sound?

Does anybody know why this decision was made in pinyin, about not writing any hint of the sound /o/ in liu, instead of writing something like liou or liow ? The first reaction of any newcomer to ...
14
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4answers
1k views

How to pronounce “下载”

How to pronounce the word "下载", "xià zǎi" or "xià zài"? Most Chinese people pronounce it "xià zǎi", but there are some people insist on pronouncing it "xià zài". There are different also different ...
13
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3answers
4k views

Did ancient Chinese have tones (声调)?

This question has puzzled me since I have no training in ancient Chinese and ancient phonetics. What is puzzling me are the following facts: The tones in different regions are quite different. If ...
13
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3answers
333 views

Character Pronunciation Clues

Is there any way to know what a character's pronunciation or tone is, based on the strokes or radicals that make up the characters?
13
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7answers
870 views

Do acronyms borrowed from English use neutral tone (aka tone 0 or tone 5) for all syllables?

I was just reading a Q&A here about Chinese words for DVD and the discussion also included other acronyms from English. It struck me that nobody wrote the pinyin for any of the terms which made ...
12
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6answers
3k views

Is “biang” a phonologically possible syllable in Mandarin Chinese?

One of the local specialty favourite dishes in Shaanxi province where I am now is Biángbiáng miàn. Photo by hippietrail The hanzi character for "biáng" is usually the focus of discusssions of this ...
12
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1answer
535 views

How does tone sandhi apply in people's names? [duplicate]

Like the title says, the question is simple: what's the proper way to handle tone sandhi in names? Is there something like "pronounce the family name as-is, apply tone sandhi to given name"? Or is ...
11
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5answers
1k views

Are people's names always pronounced the same in Mandarin?

In many languages, you can not be really sure how to pronounce a person's name, so you have to ask them first, and remember. For instance, "Broglie" can be brɔɪ or brɔˈgli, "中島" can be Nakashima or ...
11
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3answers
510 views

When do the tones change?

Sometimes, in certain combinations of tones or words, the tones change. Where can I find a complete list of all tone changes that occur in Mandarin?
11
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4answers
2k views

How did Chinese people know in the past the pronunciation of words? [duplicate]

Nowadays a Chinese person seeing a character for the first time can look it up in a dictionary (it doesn't matter how) and get the phonetic or Pinyin transliteration, so that the pronunciation is ...
10
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3answers
965 views

How is the 儿 ending pronounced outside Beijing?

When Beijingers use words like 一点儿, the ending syllable will be very pronounced as far as I understand, and I'm aware that this is a typical feature of the Beijing dialect. But how is it pronounced in ...
10
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6answers
3k views

Are there any free/open fonts designed to help learn/read Chinese?

Problem As a Chinese student I found that one of the first barriers is reading. Indeed, when trying to acquire new vocabulary one might be faced with the opacity of the Chinese character as opposed ...
10
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6answers
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Are there rules about the differences between pinyin spelling and pronunciation?

I noticed that sometimes certain finals in Chinese sound differently when combined with different initials. For e.g., what is spelled "u" sometimes is pronounced "ü". Other times, ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Pronunciation of 一 in 一个

When I first learnt the numbers, I learnt 一 with the first tone yi1. But now, during a Memrise lesson, they teach me that 一个 should be pronounced yi2 ge4 or yi2 ge5. Is this correct and, if so, is ...
10
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4answers
19k views

Where can I find audio recordings of every word? [closed]

Where can I find audio recordings (i.e. individual MP3s or WAVs) for every Chinese word? I have found some recordings of Chinese, but these only contain individual phonemes, not entire words. I am ...
10
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1answer
760 views

Pronunciation of 和 in Taiwan

This is something that I noticed in Taiwanese Mandarin TV series and films. It seems that they pronounce this character as hàn instead of the commonly accepted hé. For example, 我和你 is pronounced wǒ ...
10
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4answers
2k views

Pinyin tones pronunciation cheat sheet

I've just started taking Chinese lessons, and I've been trying to find a "cheat sheet" for pinyin pronunciation. All the sites I've found is either incomplete (only having some tones), only having the ...
10
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8answers
5k views

What software can correct pronunciation?

What software is available which can record my voice and warn me about problems with my pronunciation and tones?
9
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5answers
2k views

A Complex Chinese Character

I randomly saw this character on the blog a while ago and saved a image of it as shown below. Is this even a character? If so, what does it mean? When is it used? What was the origin of it? How do ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Pronunciation of 那个

I'm surprised this question hasn't been asked yet! The pinyin for 那个 is nà gè, but in conversation, Chinese people often pronounce it more like nee-guh than nah-guh. I asked my teacher and she says ...
9
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4answers
5k views

How to convert from hanyu pinyin to IPA?

Where can I find a table showing the relation between Hanyu pinyin spelling and IPA for all phonemes in Mandarin?
9
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6answers
5k views

How is the pinyin 'iu' pronounced?

How does one pronounce the 'iu' sound (as in liu4 = six)? I have always said it and heard it to end in an [joʊ] sound, as in 'low', 'go', and 'sew'. But once I was told that it should actually be a '...
9
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1answer
4k views

What is the correct pronunciation of 垃圾?

The word 垃圾 is sometimes pronounced laji, but other times I've seen it pronounced as lese, which pronunciation is deemed to be more correct? Are they both interchangeable?
9
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2answers
1k views

What is considered to be the most difficult sound for native English speakers to pronounce?

When I was first learning Chinese, I found the e4 - 饿 & ü3/ü4 - 女/绿 sounds to be the most problematic. Has there been any research into this? If so, what sounds are generally the most problematic ...
9
votes
1answer
823 views

Pinyin “ying” has an “o” sound?

Look at 1:54 and 5:22 of this video: Chinese Pinyin in 6 Mins Is ying really pronounced with an "o" sound? This seems counterintuitive, especially when yin (at 1:49 in the video) sounds as a native ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Questions on a Hakka song and its particular Hakka dialect

Warning, General Background, Table of Contents This is going to be a very long post, just like my work on this video was very long. This is why I am breaking it down into sections. It is also going to ...
8
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5answers
446 views

Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone?

Quick question: Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone? If it is first tone, is this because it is being used as a number? Cheers, Stephen
8
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4answers
2k views

How to pronounce 儿 in conjunction with other characters

The textbook I'm reading now has liberal sprinklings of the 儿 character suffixing words that I have not previously seen suffixed. For example: 空儿。 How should this be pronounced? Are there any rules ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Different pronunciation for the number 'one'?

I was talking to my friend (native Chinese) the other day and when she read out a phone number she said "yao" for all the "ones" in the phone number. However, as far as I remember, ...
8
votes
5answers
522 views

地 pronunciation variation

May I know how the rules governing the pronunciation of 地? In the song, 吻别, the singer pronounces 地 as di. 冷得连隐藏的遗憾都那么地明显 leng de lian yin cang de yi han du na me di ming xian However, a quick check ...
8
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2answers
558 views

Similar pronunciations of tea/茶 across languages

The Cantonese (Yale cha4), Mandarin (pinyin chá) and Kan’yōon (cha) pronounciations of 茶 are similar to the Russian чай (IPA t͡ɕaj) word for tea. Do these have a common origin?
8
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1answer
3k views

Pinyin “h” sound, pronunciation

I notice that the pinyin "h" is in many books just the same as in English. But when I listen to people, some people stress the "h" and there is a tiny gggg, and some gurgling ...
8
votes
1answer
232 views

How was Switzerland transliterated into Chinese?

So, my real question is: did 瑞 used to be pronounced suì in 官话? My roundabout way at getting to this is from the transliteration of Switzerland. Let's look at Chengduese.《现代汉语方言音库 • 成都话音档》records 瑞 ...
8
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6answers
680 views

Regional variations on 三更半夜

A couple years ago, I was at a Chinese(-American) gathering and the topic of 成语 came up. One of them was 三更半夜. My family is from Hangzhou, and previously I had always known of it as 深更半夜. On the other ...
8
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1answer
234 views

How did Middle Chinese “hæwk” evolve into Mandarin “xué”?

So I was wondering why the on'yomi reading of Japanese 学 was "gaku" and the Korean reading of 學 was "hak", since I knew that in Mandarin, 学 was "xué", which is radically ...
8
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3answers
611 views

How to distinguish the difference between the pronunciation of different erhuayin?

For example, 小黄儿, 小欢儿, 小花儿; 唱歌儿, 树根儿, 一横儿; What's the difference? I can't understand the difference between each phonetic symbol in the same row in the table below: The picture is from ...
8
votes
1answer
344 views

How did 秘 “bi” become “mi”?

I came across this comment just now: “秘”声符是“必”没问题,但是并不是说“秘”和“必”一定同音,“秘”这个字是北京话读错了,其实应该读bi,“秘鲁”一词还残存bi的读音 Which got me thinking. 秘 is still read "bi" in: surnames transcriptions (e.g.: Peru) ...
8
votes
1answer
790 views

Are the two pronunciations of 谁 (shéi / shuí) the result of regional differences?

The pronoun 谁 has two pronunciations — shéi and shuí — without a difference in meaning. When I started learning Chinese, I learnt the pronunciation shéi. However, one of my Chinese language partners (...
8
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4answers
2k views

Rhyming in modern Mandarin

What syllables rhyme in modern Mandarin, according to the native speakers? I'm looking for some rules or rhyme tables. I have found some, but I'm confused by the fact that 韵 may both mean "rhyme" and "...
8
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2answers
324 views

Where can I find recordings of people reading things now that mp3.baidu.com is dead? [closed]

Baidu's MP3 search engine used to be my first stop when studying anything Chinese. Absurdly, even recordings of relatively rare poetry (for instance) were easy to find. These recordings were not ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why e is pronounced differently in de (的, 地) and ye (也,夜)?

I got confused because sometimes e is pronounced differently in various words. For example: (的, 地) and ye (也,夜) Can you explain and give me some tricks to remember? Thank you!

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