Lesson 004. Introducing People. Nationalities and Occupations.

Introducing people. Where are you from and what’s your occupation? Phonetics rules and changes in Chinese tones.
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  1. Alex Moen says:

    Solid podcasts. I might even go as far as saying that they beat the popular Pimsleur audio series. Good explanations and pronunciation.

  2. Serge Melnyk says:

    Dear John,
    This lady that you met near Beijing must be from somewhere else. Her Mandarin is not very biao1zhun3(standard). Based on what you said, my guess is she is from Dong1bei3(North East) or from else where in China, but she is not BJ local 100%. Trust me. There are many migrants in Beijing who come from all around the country. The way she pronounces chi1-to eat as tsi is a very typical example of poor pronunciation in Mandarin. But good that you noticed that.

  3. John Gleason says:

    Nihao, Serge, and xiexie for the reply.

    Yes, I remember their pronunciations, and I hope that I can adequately describe them in writing. (When reading my descriptions, please keep in mind that I am an American, and a native speaker of English.) The young man from south of Shanghai pronounced words as you pronounce them. The young woman from near Beijing began the word for “to eat” with a “ts” or “tz” sound, instead of a “ch” sound. She began the word for “to sit” with a “j” sound, instead of a “z” sound. When saying the word for “teacher”, she used an “s” sound, instead of an “sh” sound.

    I am very grateful that I stumbled upon your website. Studying Mandarin is enjoyable and enlightening.

  4. Serge Melnyk says:

    Nihao John,

    Yes, even though majority of time they speak the same language, both will be influenced by their local dialects: Beijing hua and Shanghai hua, so the pronunciation of some words may be very different. I could say that Beijing speakers speak more standard Mandarin, but, in reality, this is not always the case. It depends on the person and his/her background. Beijing dialect abuses the ‘r’ sound a lot and they sometimes sound as though they have porridge in the mouth. People of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in China, on the other hand, have problems pronouncing such sounds as ch vs. c, sh vs. s etc.

    Do you remember how they pronounced these words?



  5. John Gleason says:

    Dear Serge,

    Nihao, and xiexie.

    Last week, I met a young woman from a town near Beijing, and a young man from a town 100 km south of Shanghai. They pronounce several words differently. For example, they have very different pronunciations of the Hanyu words for “to be”, “teacher”, “to eat”, and “to do.” Are these differences representative of differences among Hanyu speakers in China?

  6. jono says:

    nin hao, xie xie for the excellent lessons – they are just the right length to grasp after 3 or 4 intent listenings. They also keep me ahead of my writing lessons! :-)

  7. Miku says:

    ni hao. thanks so much for this, this is the first time i got the courage to study Chinese ^_______^ I really wanted to because some of my friends are Chinese and they speak Chinese in front of me and I’m the only one who doesn’t understand. I am learning so much from it. Xiexie! ^____^

  8. Dante says:

    Thank you for your encouraging words at the beginning of this lessons transcripts. I have been discouraged of late and need to return to my Chinese studies. I also find that if I read the transcripts aloud without the podcast it is easier to hear my improvement and, also, to hear my mistakes. So now I am reading all lesson transcripts a couple of times before listening to the podcasts and then reading the transcripts again after listening to the podcasts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou Serge,
    Your lessons are excellent! I listen to them over and over in my car ride to work and I am actually remembering the phrases. I leave for my holiday to China in 3 weeks :)

    Your lessons are 1000 times better than reading my phrase book, or that other podcast lessons I downloaded (they were too fast and didnt explain anything)

    Thankyou so much.

    Perth, Australia

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