Male vs Female accent
I am really curious if the newbie lessons teach men to have a female accent? this may be ignorant but I am wondering if I am imitating a tonal pattern too high for a man.
podsterMay 13, 2014, 01:28 AM
madaren1024, your question is not ignorant at all; it's an excellent question. Chinese is a tonal language, but the tones are all relative. In other words, the pitch of any one tone does not matter if all of the other tones are correct relative to that pitch. Just like a song can be sung in many different keys. But if you assume that the first tone as a "high level" pitch has to match the pitch of a female speaker, then yes, you might end up with a "female accent". But this would only be a beginners mistake that will work itself out very quickly. So for men, two pieces of advice: 1) listen to some male native speakers, and 2) don't think that you have to sing soprano to accurately produce a "first tone." Its just a "high" tone within your own natural voice range, not a falsetto.
In my experience there are just far more woman teaching Mandarin than men at every level everywhere. At the higher levels here Chinesepod does have David who does a great job. Otherwise as Podster says you can listen to male speakers even if you don't understand, you will hear the variety of pitch.
There are also sometimes differences of course in general usage by some men and women as in any language (I expect), but at an early stage you should not worry about that.
We can hope that Chinesepod does use male speaker when it can.
I should have added that when I started I indeed tried to pitch my voice far to high for a first tone, sadly making an old Chinese friend laugh. Although was painful for me, I have not forgotten the lesson!
pretzellogicMay 13, 2014, 02:39 AM
mandaren1024, FYI, others have asked about male vs. female accents on this site as well. So you are not alone. I'm just curious, but may I ask, is this an issue for you?
maderen1024May 15, 2014, 12:24 AM
It is an issue only because as a beginner , you imprint like a parrot... Mandarin tonals are already difficult, but to ask the male students to go one step further and translate female tonals to an imagined male counter part is difficult.. since they repeat 3x in the newbie section , if I were designing the program there would be male and female at every pronunciation level...Let me say that chinese pod is fantastic and this is the only flaw I see. Speaking well is an artform and very pleasing to work toward doing it right.. and the native speakers will appreciate the ease of understanding..
maderen1024May 15, 2014, 12:32 AM
For now , I listen to the male speakers in Films.. the lead in Crouching Tiger has a very artistic pleasing sound.. so does the female lead who has an understated less overtly feminine accent than the teachers on the pod lessons. Let me also say that all the female teacher's mandarin pronunciation on the pod lessons are very beautiful.. but so is their pronunciation in English ( they do have an accent obviously but it is very easy to understand and sounds natural )...