Say It Right Series
speak chinese like a native

Jenny's got rhythm

Posted by derekrhodes November 21, 2010 in the Group General Discussion.

I can't be alone in noticing that spoken mandarin not only has a melodic element but also a rhytmic one, and by that I don't mean a random smattering, but an unconscious application of some rhytmic heuristic that's evolved and optimized for efficiency and understanding.  This is probably true for all languages but specifically the atoms of chinese words are partitioned cleanly into singular syllabal chunks, more often than not starting with a consonant. Stastically, ~12% of mandarin words start with a vowel sound, where english ranks ~22%.  This I conject should make chinese sound a bit more staccato, assisting the ear in bending a spoken passage into a rhythmic one. Chinese would be a good language for rap.

In episode 1476B, Asking about what to wear, Jenny's line: 知道了, 对了,我应该穿什么样的衣服。 So curiousity got the best of me and I finally broke down and put together a small mix highlighting both the melodic and rhythmic complexity of this sentence - like a 6/8 afrocuban waltz.  I've attached the mp3 here.

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