#106 How to improve on Chinese Pronunciation
Pronunciation is one of the most important thing in learning Chinese. Even the wrong tone of one word can cause a great change in meaning. As much as one strive to get perfect pronunciation, the 4 tones of Chinese words are probably the most difficult part in learning the language. But don’t give up! Here are some tips we gathering that could help you on this journey.
1. Set Goals
Fix a number of words you want to pronounce correctly per day or per week. Set a goal that is reachable, not something such as 100 words in one day. Then record yourself saying the words over and over again until you get it right. You can start with the 4 tones of a simple word such as “ma” (mā, má, mǎ, mà) and get used to how they sound like and the shape they form on your lips when you say them out.
2. Listen to native speakers
One of the best and free ways to perfect your pronunciation is to listen to native speakers, be it your friends, or from the internet. You can search for videos online or watch tv series and variety shows. Besides listening to the pronunciation, you can also learn new vocabulary and how the Chinese speak in daily life, including the talking speed and the type of words they use. Many shows have subtitles now so don’t worry! (This is s great place to start your search: http://kissasian.com)
3. Practice makes perfect
Always find chances to speak the language, not just during your class time. You can use simple words in supermarkets or when ordering food. If you have friends who can speak Chinese, thats even better! Ask them to have a short conversation with you and correct any wrong pronunciation you have. If you come across any words that you don’t know, feel free to ask your teachers or any native speakers. Speak the language most days of the week for at least half an hour. All these are small practices in your daily life that can make an impact in the long run.
Learning how to speak a new language is not smooth sailing, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t master the correct pronunciation now. Give yourself some time and put in some hard work, you will definitely see the results. 加油!