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Re: (teach) basic sounds

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  • Nelson Bank
    There s some confusion with the /r/ and /l/.  It seems Chinese students think that they cannot pronounce the /r/.  They actually have that
    Message 1 of 25 , May 8, 2013
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      <basic sounds>

      There's some confusion with the /r/ and /l/.  It seems Chinese students think that they cannot pronounce the /r/.  They actually have that sound in their phonemic inventory.  The word for 'two' is 'er', with basically the same sound as in (American) English.
      The 'j' sound in 'judge' and the 'ch' sound in 'church' also are used in Chinese, but they are sort of rotacized, as if there were vestiges of an 'r' after the plosive-like affricate.

      Nelson
    • nate jarvis
      I thought r-controlled vowels were slightly different from initial /r/? The ri as in riben or riyong is different from English s initial /r/, isn t it?
      Message 2 of 25 , May 8, 2013
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        I thought r-controlled vowels were slightly different from initial /r/? The
        "ri" as in riben or riyong is different from English's initial /r/, isn't
        it?

        Rhotics is a field in itself, and one of which I'm highly ignorant, but talking about r (the letter) for sounds might be misleading. Isn't this guy the "r" sound in Japanese:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroflex_flap

        Nate.

        Nelson Bank wrote:

        > There's some confusion with the /r/ and /l/. It seems Chinese students think that they cannot pronounce the /r/. They actually have that sound in their phonemic inventory. The word for 'two' is 'er', with basically the same sound as in (American) English.
        >
      • Nelson Bank
        The initial r is fricatized.  It isn t in English.  I m using the U.S. English r in /r/.  The r in Mandarin er sounds just like
        Message 3 of 25 , May 9, 2013
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          <"ri" as in riben>


          The initial 'r' is fricatized.  It isn't in English.  I'm using the U.S. English 'r' in /r/.  The 'r' in Mandarin 'er' sounds just like the U.S. English /r/.  It's actually almost homophonous with U.S. English 'are'.

          Yeah, 'r' can have different sounds.  The one in Spanish can be a flap or trill, depending on placement in a word or sentence (it can also be severely fricatized).

          Nelson
        • Dave
          ... think that they cannot pronounce the /r/. They actually have that sound in their phonemic inventory. The word for two is er , with
          Message 4 of 25 , May 11, 2013
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            <basic sounds>

            >There's some confusion with the /r/ and /l/. It seems Chinese students
            think that they cannot pronounce the /r/. They actually have that sound in their phonemic inventory. The word for 'two' is 'er', with basically the same sound as in (American) English.
            >>>

            native Beijingers certainly do the /r/...my address to a taxi driver was
            'see murr' with a ?scottish roll to the r. If see murr didn't work, it was 'she men' Ximen.

            Older more traditional Chinese may also confuse b and p, as Sir Robert
            Peel became Sir Bill, when translated into Chinese and back into English.

            And then there's the dialects....

            Dave Nevin
          • e c
            The R and L liquid sounds are families of sounds. It might be simplistic to say that Chinese has it so students should be able to sound American. The north
            Message 5 of 25 , May 18, 2013
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              The R and L liquid sounds are families of sounds. It might be simplistic to say that Chinese has it so students should be able to sound American. The north Chinese R is heavily retroflexed, unlike most English Rs. The American R is often influenced by lip rounding to various degrees of firmness. British pronunciation, well..... 

              Yes, dialects. The southern coastal dialects mostly do not have any R at all. So much for THE Chinese language and people.

              E Chan, Malaysia



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Dave
              I asked an ex-student (Masters interpretation BFSU) about sounds of English / Chinese... her reply Yes there is a whoooooole system of phonetics for Chinese
              Message 6 of 25 , May 19, 2013
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                I asked an ex-student (Masters interpretation BFSU) about sounds of
                English / Chinese... her reply

                "Yes there is a whoooooole system of phonetics for Chinese speaking. The
                latest national standard is The basic rules of Chinese phonetic alphabet
                orthography, the code: GB/T 16159-2012.
                http://www.sac.gov.cn/SACSearch/search?channelid=160591&templet=gjcxjg_detail.jsp&searchword=STANDARD_CODE=%27GB/T%2016159-2012%27&XZ=T

                I did not find an official revision in English. :( But happily there is
                abundant stuff about the phonetic system - Pinyin - on the internet.

                Check these out:

                1) Everything about Pinyin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinyin

                2) How to analyze a Pinyin:
                http://english.eastday.com/eastday/english2009/Education/hanyu/Phonetics/lesson1/index.html

                3) Simplified Chinese phonetic pronunciation (by IBM!!! but it only works
                if you can already speak Mandarin Chinese):
                http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/pvcvoice/51x/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.websphere.wvs.doc%2Fwvs%2Fphone_zh.html

                Written Chinese in English characters, they must be Pinyin, for
                pronunciation only. Because in the language of Chinese, sounds do not
                carry meanings with them, only the characters do. Complex, isn't it?
                Ahahahaha..... :D

                Just shout if you feel like asking anything more!"

                The book is probably in good bookshops, if you read Chinese...

                cheers
                Dave Nevin
              • Ria Smit
                E Chan, from Malaysia wrote: Yes, dialects. The southern coastal dialects mostly do not have any R at all. So much for THE Chinese language and people. ... In
                Message 7 of 25 , May 19, 2013
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                  E Chan, from Malaysia wrote:
                  Yes, dialects. The southern coastal dialects mostly do not have any R at
                  all. So much for THE Chinese language and people.
                  ---------

                  In China, when we speak about "Chinese", we speak about 'pu tong hua', the
                  language that is universally taught. If we speak about any other language
                  then we name the dialect that is referred to.
                  Ria
                • Nelson Bank
                  And in which teachers have to teach.  I was just wondering if I wouldn t be rocking the boat by
                  Message 8 of 25 , May 20, 2013
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                    <'pu tong hua', the language that is universally taught>

                    And in which teachers have to teach.  I was just wondering if I wouldn't be rocking the boat by proposing that foreign English teachers walk in their students' shoes some by learning some Mandarin Chinese words.  If students choose words from Mandarin that they want to learn in English, teachers have to learn those words also, for vocabulary exercise purposes.  Wouldn't that be fun?  And model vocabulary learning?

                    Nelson Bank
                  • nate jarvis
                    In China, when we speak about Chinese , we speak about pu tong hua , the language that is universally taught. If we speak about any other language then we
                    Message 9 of 25 , May 20, 2013
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                      In China, when we speak about "Chinese", we speak about 'pu tong hua', the
                      language that is universally taught. If we speak about any other language
                      then we name the dialect that is referred to.
                      </Ria>

                      The dialect/region affects the nature of a given speaker's putonghua (as do
                      education level and other factors.) People who switch between putonghua and
                      another flavor of Chinese aren't always as good about switching into a pure
                      putonghua as they might think.

                      Nate.
                    • Nelson Bank
                      There is a standard putonghua.  It was chosen from many competing dialects in China.  The one from Beijing won out.  It has standard
                      Message 10 of 25 , May 21, 2013
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                        <putonghua>

                        There is a standard putonghua.  It was chosen from many competing dialects in China.  The one from Beijing won out.  It has standard pronunciation and grammar, and Chinese characters can be consistently transcribed into a Western alphabet (the one used in the U.S. and other countries) using a system of pinyin, which is phonemic.  Officially all education in China is carried out in Mandarin Chinese, which this dialect is considered to be.  It's like Walter Cronkite English in the U.S. news media, for Standard American English.


                        Nelson Bank
                      • Ria Smit
                        If students choose words from Mandarin that they want to learn in English, teachers have to learn those words also, for vocabulary exercise purposes. Wouldn t
                        Message 11 of 25 , May 21, 2013
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                          If students choose words from Mandarin that they want to learn in English,
                          teachers have to learn those words also, for vocabulary exercise purposes.
                          Wouldn't that be fun? And model vocabulary learning?
                          Nelson Bank
                          ------
                          Except that most students do NOT speak Mandarin, only those around the
                          Beijing area do. They only speak their local dialect and Putonghua.
                          Ria Smit
                        • Jim Mahler
                          The position of a sound can also give students difficulty. Thus, while some Chinese students have an r sound as a final in their native language, they may
                          Message 12 of 25 , May 22, 2013
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                            The position of a sound can also give students difficulty. Thus, while some Chinese students have an "r" sound as a final in their native language, they may still have trouble with the English "r" as an initial (rice) or following a consonant (break).

                            If you've studied Chinese, you've experienced this problem yourself. The Chinese consonant spelled with a "c" in pinyin has essentially the same sound as "ts", but in English that sound only appears as a final (cats). It's an initial in Chinese, which throws us.

                            When teaching English pronunciation to students from various places in China, it is helpful to understand the differences between "Mandarin" as opposed to "Putonghua" or some local "dialect". See http://blog.chinese-stories-english.com/2013/05/04/political-lingo.aspx.

                            Jim Mahler
                          • Nelson Bank
                            Although Mandarin is considered to be a group of similar Chinese dialects, it has been used interchangeably with
                            Message 13 of 25 , May 22, 2013
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                              <"Mandarin" as opposed to "Putonghua">

                              Although 'Mandarin' is considered to be a group of similar Chinese dialects, it has been used interchangeably with 'Putonghua' of late.  You could say that Putonghua is a Mandarin-based standardized dialect that is used as the official language of China.  It's safe to tailor English pronunciation classes to Putonghua on a national level.  There may even be an educational obligation to do so.

                              Nelson Bank
                            • Dave
                              ... If we speak about any other language then we name the dialect that is referred to.
                              Message 14 of 25 , May 22, 2013
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                                >we speak about 'pu tong hua', the language that is universally taught.
                                If we speak about any other language then we name the dialect that is referred to.<

                                A few years ago I did read that only 51% of Chinese spoke putonghua. That
                                may have changed? I assume the others speak dialects or any of the other
                                languages of the 56 nationalities.
                                It does explain why they have number symbols by fingers, whatever that is
                                called.
                                Do Guangdong schools still teach in 'Cantonese' ?

                                cheers
                                Dave N
                              • Nelson Bank
                                I wonder how that compares to the percentage of Chinese who know Putonghua. The number system, from 1 to 10, that is used to
                                Message 15 of 25 , May 23, 2013
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                                  <51% of Chinese spoke putonghua>

                                  I wonder how that compares to the percentage of Chinese who know Putonghua.
                                  The number system, from 1 to 10, that is used to count on hands, has small variations in different geographical locations, but is pretty logical, up to 4 or 5 at least.  Higher numbers are generally supposed to look like the written Arabic digit.  The 10 has two big variants, but both look like an X.
                                  Guangdong, Hainan, Urumqi, all have Putonghua as the official language, and everyone is supposed to be able to communicate in it.

                                  Nelson
                                • Jim Mahler
                                  Mandarin is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken as a native language by over 60% of the people in China. Putonghua is a set of
                                  Message 16 of 25 , May 23, 2013
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                                    <51% of Chinese spoke putonghua>

                                    "Mandarin" is a Sino-Tibetan�language spoken as a native language by over 60% of the people in China. "Putonghua" is a set of rules created by�academics�in the 20th century, based on the version of Mandarin spoken by educated people in Beijing, and considered to be the "proper" way to speak Mandarin.

                                    If you ask someone from a Mandarin-speaking area (say, Shandong) whether they speak putonghua, it's like asking someone from Boston whether they've learned how to pronounce "r". If you ask someone from an area where Mandarin isn't the native language (say, Guangdong) the same question, it's like asking whether they've learned a foreign language.

                                    Jim Mahler
                                  • Nelson Bank
                                    Try to understand the local Mandarin in different regions in China.  Sometimes it s pretty radical.  For Cantonese, which is way
                                    Message 17 of 25 , May 23, 2013
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                                      <Mandarin-speaking area>

                                      Try to understand the local Mandarin in different regions in China.  Sometimes it's pretty radical.  For Cantonese, which is way removed from Putonghua, Putonghua is a second language, which many didn't used to speak.  Now it's the official language.

                                      Nelson Bank
                                    • Russ
                                      ...  For Cantonese, which is way removed from Putonghua, Putonghua is a second language, which many didn t used to speak.  Now it s the official language. My
                                      Message 18 of 25 , May 23, 2013
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                                        --- In TEFLChina@yahoogroups.com, Nelson Bank <natlunla@... wrote:

                                         For Cantonese, which is way removed from Putonghua, Putonghua is a second language, which many didn't used to speak.  Now it's the official language.

                                        My comment:
                                        Just because it's the official language doesn't mean it's actually being used very often other than when it really has to be. When I was teaching in Ningbo Chinese teachers had to take a putonghua exam every year but every day they spoke ningbohua in lessons.
                                        It's interesting though to know that a lot of Chinese students are learning putonghua as their first foreign language and English as their second and French/German/Japanese as their third at unmiversity. Such understanding is essential for us as 'foreign' teachers (I really hate that expression) to understand some of our students' problems.
                                        Is there any research on this that anyone knows about?

                                        Russ Taylor
                                      • nate jarvis
                                        Mandarin is a Sino-Tibetan language Anyone know where the debate on this classification stands? Whether Burmese and Tibetan languages are subset to a
                                        Message 19 of 25 , May 24, 2013
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                                          "Mandarin" is a Sino-Tibetan language
                                          </Jim>

                                          Anyone know where the debate on this classification stands? Whether Burmese
                                          and Tibetan languages are subset to a Sino-Tibetan grouping, which
                                          allegedly is NOT representative of likely genealogies, or Chinese
                                          language(s) subset to some further initial subdivision of Burmese/Tibetan
                                          languages, despite the tendency to give priority to Chinese due to the
                                          large number of natives, its political/military/cultural power of the
                                          millennia, etc.

                                          Nate.
                                        • Dave
                                          I read that putonghua was a creation of Mao/CPC,to help unify China. Native Beijingers don t speak it, or not all of it. (thinking of the n/r sound)...aah,
                                          Message 20 of 25 , May 27, 2013
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                                            I read that putonghua was a creation of Mao/CPC,to help unify China.
                                            Native Beijingers don't speak it, or not all of it. (thinking of the n/r
                                            sound)...aah, Educated Beijingers!

                                            I see the ratio was up to 53%, by 2007.

                                            http://pinyin.info/news/2007/percentage-of-chinas-population-that-can-speak-mandarin-remains-at-53-prc-moe/

                                            I notice this article uses the nouns putonghua and Mandarin
                                            interchangeably...but imagine you need to go Taiwan to hear Mandarin these
                                            days.

                                            >The 10 has two big variants, but both look like an X.
                                            I've also seen 10 as a closed fist.

                                            cheers
                                            Dave Nevin
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