help bg
Go Back

Common Pronunciation Mistakes Made by European and American Students in Mandarin Language Program

The principal point of correcting pronunciation mistake is to find the mistakes students have made. Don’t look down upon this part. It is hard to really do this without experience. There are always some Chinese teachers who are working in Mandarin language program asking me: why they could hear that the students speak wrongly, but they could not really find that where the mistake is and didn’t know how to correct the mistake. Today our experienced teacher who has been working for the Mandarin language program for many years will conclude some common pronunciation mistakes the students always make, especially the students in European and American countries so that you will know how you can correct them.

Students from different countries will have different pronunciation problems because of the influence of their mother tongues.

Let’s take European and American students as example:

ü:Students whose mother tongue is English will be uncomfortable for the pronunciation of this letter. The reason is quite easy: there is no this pronunciation in English (French and German have this similar pronunciation). Therefore, teachers of Mandarin language program will often hear that students pronounce “继续” as “记数” or say “我有许多的朋友” as “我有书多的朋友”.Almost every word with “ü” is the difficult point for the students of Mandarin language program, especially the following syllables: xu, ju, qu, yu, nǚ, lǜ.

zh, ch, sh & j, q, x: about this group of pronunciations, there are countless funny examples which were all made by the students who are learning Mandarin in China. Here we pick some examples which will make you burst your sides with laughter. For example, one student of the Mandarin language program once spoke of “我吃鸡” as “我七鸡” or “我击鸡”; one student spoke “我上课” as “我下课” and another student spoke “婚姻悲剧” as “婚姻悲祝”.

ao: the reason why we point out this vowel syllable is that it is too commonly used. Even the most simple greeting will use it: “你好!”, “你今天好不好?” Therefore, as the teacher of Mandarin language program, you must let students pronounce well.

The main problem of European and American students in the Mandarin language program to pronounce this sound is that they will speak of this sound easily as the vowel “ow” in the word “how” in English, which sounds like the combination of “a-u-o”. This is because that the pronunciation of vowel “ow” in English is more common than “ao” in Chinese language. The manner of articulation has great difference——technically, this kind of speech sounds has big openness. Teachers should pay more attention to this kind of speech sounds of the students who are learning Mandarin in China.

During the process of correcting pronunciation mistake, you should make the sound practice much more interesting. Correcting pronunciation mistake or practicing pronunciation again and again will be quite tedious and will always make students feel frustrated in the Mandarin language program. Here we will provide you a small tip as the reference of the practice of ü:

You should ask student to purse his lips and pronounce this speech sound “ü”. The technical term for this is “labialization”. If it still sounds weird, you can ask the student to pronounce the sound “i”. (Almost every language has this speech sound. If the student even has problem in pronouncing this speech sound, then he can only give up taking part in the Mandarin language program.) Then you ask the student to purse his lips. The speech sound of “ü” will appear.

There are many other pronunciation skills concluded by the experienced teachers. You can take example by their shares and conclude a set of practice skills which is full of your characteristics. The main target is to make the process interesting and effective.

Please use vertical scrolling on your mobile device.