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Say It Right Series

Standard Pronunciation for Learning Chinese

Posted by weibosi February 3, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: pronunciation, Shanghai, accent, shandong,

I have both heard in my own experience and from Shanghaiese that they don't distinguish between "en" or "eng", and "in" or "ing" very well. You might be aware that these distinctions are quite natural for English speakers, where "keen" and "king" are definitely distinct sounding, as are "ton" and "tongue". In many of the podcasts, I have to figure out by context much of the time whether a new word I'm hearing is "ten" or "teng", "pin" or "ping", "xin" or "xing", etc. because if the speaker is a Shanghai native, I just hear "ten", "pin", or "xin" respectively regardless. So, my suggestion is that English speakers will have an easier time of listening to new words if these pronunciations are more standard. There still is great value in listening to several accents, but more useful when a good foundation is already in place.

As an aside, I've noticed that ShanDong speakers accents even exaggerate the differences I've pointed out, to the point where "ying" sounds like "young" to an English ear.

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