McGurk Effect

May 17, 2011, 09:25 AM posted in General Discussion

I found the following video really interesting:

I wonder if this effect might be behind some things I have observed.

For example, is someone is pronouncing tones _terribly_ in class (your soul is melting with it), if they move their heads with the tone, they seem to improve markedly.

I also wondered, if anyone on the Cpod staff wasn't too shy... if we could get some decent sized video of people pronouncing key words. I am certain the visual memory will aid in the learning of vocabulary.

That said, I haven't been about for ages, and need to upgrade my account to get sucha  cool feature!


Hello all!

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May 17, 2011, 12:22 PM

Amazing.  This reminds me of a few things I have heard:

1. That all of us are lip readers, though we are not consciously aware of it.

2. We are also not consciously aware of how much missing information our brains create to "fill in the blanks."  A professor once told my class that if you really want to see of someone knows a language put them on the telephone, becasue the sound coming out of a phone is missing so much information.  A native speaker will be unaware, as their brains make them think they are hearing the missing information, but someone relatively unfamiliar with the language will simply not have this advantage. 

3. It raises the issue of the fact that popular programs such as Chinese Pod, Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, etc. all lack video of their content being spoken.  CPod's SKYPE classes are also not videoconferences.  At upper level maybe the additional challenge is actually a good thing, but for Newbies they would probably benefit tremendously from seeing a human face going through the readings, pinyin chart, etc, and engaging them in conversation.  In the past CPod did produce videos, but these generally were "vocab tours" and never showed anyone actually speaking. (The Menu Stealer episodes may have had some exceptions).  I seem to recall that CPod quite doing videos becasue of the extra time and expense involved in production.  May I humbly suggest that they consider making some videos that clearly show the mouth movements of native speakers speaking the language.  In the meantime, keep up the good work, CPod.  The podcasts and supporting resources are the best available!

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May 17, 2011, 12:25 PM

Not sure if this is related, but do any of you have experience with systems linking tone to color coding in order to learn the tones of Mandarin?   (Representing each of the tones with a distinct color, either visually or in the mind's eye.)

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May 17, 2011, 12:38 PM

John wrote about it a while back:

Hope that helps.

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May 17, 2011, 02:15 PM

If you're looking for a great site showing videos of a native speaker speaking each pinyin sound, go here:

The content on this site is great (the layout isn't so appealing though) - it gives you each of the sounds (initials and finals), an animated mouth, step-by-step instructions on how to form the sound, as well as the videos.

I would recommend this for anyone, but especially for beginners of Chinese.  Wish I had this when I started out.  Also wish someone would buy out this website and give it a professional upgrade......ChinesePod?!  I also think it would be a great add-on to AI Chinese's website.