help bg
Go Back

Learning and Distinguishing Chinese Pinyin

It is very important to master Chinese Pinyin for those who learn to speak Chinese because it is helpful to pronounce Chinese characters correctly. Many feasible methods can’t be applied to train Chinese Pinyin.

There are many similar pronunciations in Chinese Pinyin on syllable onset and syllable rime. It is difficult to tell them apart for those who just begin to learn Mandarin. To overcome this difficulty, we can use the way of changing pronunciation when listening.

Here is how teachers do at Chinese school in China: After the teachers finishing reading syllables that include with syllable onset like “z”, “c” and “s”, the students should change them to “zh”, “ch” and “sh” immediately, remaining the tone. And then train it with the other way round.

For example, when the teacher reads “zāng”, “céng” and “sàn”, students should read “zhāng”, “chéng” and “shǎn”. Students can train this more because it is hard to distinguish them for those who just start to study Chinese.

What’s more, the four tones of Pinyin are important to speak Chinese correctly when learning Mandarin Chinese. After the teacher finishing reading the level tone and the falling-rising tone, students should change to read the rising tone and the falling tone.

For instance, if the teacher read “xiāo”, “xiǎo”, “quān”and “quǎn”, the students must change it into “xiáo”, “xiào”, “quán” and “quàn” immediately. Most foreigners who learn Chinese language in China are not able to pronounce the four tones correctly, so it will be better if teachers can change the order to be proficient.

To active the classroom atmosphere, the teacher can practice by playing a game to increase students’ enthusiasm. It is popular to play Chinese Pinyin scrabble if you study in China, which can enhance students’ imagination.

Let’s take a look how this game works. The students can be divided into two groups A and B. A1 firstly writes down the Pinyin and character of a disyllable word arbitrarily such as “BEIJING (北京)”. Then student B1 can start writing another Pinyin and character to connect any letter in vertical. And then the following students can continue it in vertical or horizontal. One point for one word and the group who gain the highest score will win. As an efficient method to learn Chinese in China, this game can be developed into the Pinyin filling game, that is, to combine many blanks into the shape of Chinese characters such as “正” and “开”, and fill the blanks with the letters of Pinyin.

In order to improve the accuracy and speed of reading Pinyin, we can hold a race to encourage students to be the first to answer a question. It is also the way we learn Mandarin in China. One point marked for one right answer and one deducted for incorrect answer.

The first one should be recognize the aspirated sound and the non-aspirated sound. The teacher writes down “b, p, d, t, g, k, j, q, zh, ch, z, c” on the blackboard. When the teacher reads one of the syllable onsets above, the students start to hands up to answer it is the aspirated sound or the non-aspirated one, the left hand for the aspirated sound and the right one for the non-aspirated one. This methods can answer the question that how to learn Mandarin well for the foreigners.

Another training way should be finding the vowel. The teacher reads some words or phrases, and the students compete to finding and reading out the vowel in these words. For example, after teacher says “mò mò”, “xìng gé”, “dǎ lán qiú”, “zhào xiàng jī”, students should finding out “o, o, I, e, ɑ, ɑ, I, ɑo, iɑ, I” correctly and immediately.

Last but not least, to distinguish the tones is difficult for foreigners to learn Mandarin. So students should draw more attention to practice the tones. In the same way, teacher speaks some monosyllables or disyllables, and students contest to be the first one to tell which tones they are. To make it easier to answer, we use number 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 to mark the tone, the level, the rising, the falling rising and the falling tones. For instance, if teacher says “xiōnɡ, lǐ, ɡēɡe, shànɡhǎi, shítánɡ”, students should say “1; 3; 1, 0; 4, 3; 2, 2” respectively.

The games and competition discussed above are effective approaches to improve the Chinese languagelearning skills. Students should try them more.

Please use vertical scrolling on your mobile device.