Listening Practice for Recognising the Chinese Tones

Even if you can pronounce the four tones in Chinese, learning to recognise them or pick them out in speech can be much more difficult. You may think you know what they are, but then when people start speaking, you find you can’t really tell the difference at all, or you just recognise a ‘word’ but you can’t hear the tones, they just don’t seem clear enough... It’s important to practise your ability to recognise the tones, and start off with slower words and phrases, until you get better at Continue Reading

The Ultimate Video Resource for Practising the Tones in Chinese

The four tones in Mandarin Chinese are one of the most important aspects of Chinese pronunciation, so it's  important to get really familiar with them. (if you’re new to Chinese, and you don’t know what the four tones are, click here first, and I’ve got a video to explain everything..) But how do you put the tones into practice when you’re speaking the language? For most people, that’s the hard part, so I’ll guide you through it. The good thing is that there are only a small number Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 17 – The X and Sh sounds

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 17 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to tune up your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation and tones. The last few videos have been a bit difficult, and this is the last of the really difficult sounds in Chinese. In this video we’re looking at the ‘X’ and ’Sh’ sounds in Pinyin. The ‘X’ sound is another one that simply doesn’t exist in English at all, so it often creates problems for English speakers. The sound in Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 16 – The Q and Ch sounds

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 16 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to improve and tune up your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation and tones. In this video we're looking at the 'Q' and 'Ch' sounds in Mandarin Chinese. The Q in Pinyin is another sound that doesn’t exist in English, so it’s misleading to say it is LIKE anything in English. It is most similar to the English Ch, but again, the position of the tongue is different. When you say the Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 15 – The J and Zh sounds

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 15 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to perfect your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation and tones. In this video we're looking at the 'J' and 'Zh' sounds in Mandarin Chinese. J and Zh are two more sounds that are not pronounced like the English letters used to represent them. The Zh sound in Pinyin is pronounced in a similar way to the J sound in English. Your tongue touches the top of your mouth near the front, but Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 14 – ‘i’ sounds

  Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 14 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to tune up your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation and tones. In this video we're looking at the 'i' sound in Mandarin Chinese, which can actually represent two different sounds, so we'll look at them separately. The first sound it can represent sounds quite like an -ee sound in English. Yi - 一 yī - one Bi - 笔 bǐ - pen / brush Pi - 皮肤 pífū - skin Mi - 米饭 mǐfàn - Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 13 – The Pinyin ‘r’

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 13 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to tune up your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation and tones. In this video we're looking at the 'r' sound in Mandarin Chinese. The r in pinyin is actually completely different from the ‘r’ in English, so it's quite confusing that it is written like that. A lot of beginner learners will just pronounce it like the 'r' in UK or American English, and while native speakers can usually Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 12 – Sounds ending with -in

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 12 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to get a handle on your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation, and shake of those 'foreigner' pronunciation habits. In this video we're looking at sounds that end in -in. Once again, this sound is not really pronounced like you would expect, as an English speaker. The -in sound actually has a little bit of the -ee sound in it, but just a little, mind. Try listening to the words on Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 11 – Sounds ending in -iu

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 11 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to tune up and perfect your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. This time we're looking at sounds that end in -iu. When you say this sound, it's a little bit like there's an -o at the end. The letter 'u' here is not really like the letter u in English. Try repeating the words along with the video, paying attention to the tones. Diu - 丢 diū - to lose Niu - 牛肉 niúròu - beef Liu - Continue Reading

Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 10 – Syllables ending in -ie and -ian

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 10 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to tune up and perfect your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. In this video we're going to be looking at two different types of sounds in Mandarin. The first are syllables that end in -ie. This is not pronounced -ee but -ee + e (like the ee in sneeze + the e in energy) Also, the syllable Ye is just this vowel sound on its own. Just say the -ee + e in energy and you're pretty Continue Reading