How to learn Pinyin quickly?
Can someone give me some advice on how to learn Pinyin quickly?
pretzellogicDecember 14, 2009, 01:48 AM
Well, andrew_c, we're in agreement, but maybe we're both crazy. :)
Actually, as we're all aware, we don't really get much feedback from any cpod learner on what their pronunciation sounds like after using Cpod. It would really be interesting to hear what the people that have only been using the pdfs and pinyin sound like. It would also be interesting to hear what anyone using cpod as their primary Mandarin learning tool sounds like as well.
heruihuaDecember 05, 2009, 03:37 PM
I'm A Chinese girl,spaking chinese fluently,but my English is not very well all the time,this is my Email:email@example.com,maybe you can spaking english with me ,and I spaking chinese with you .Is that OK?
andrew_cDecember 05, 2009, 06:30 PM
My approach in the very beginning was to not bother with Pinyin, or any written form of Chinese, and focus purely on sounds. This was actually not intentional, but rather forced upon me by the Pimsleur program, since there is almost no written material provided.
Once I was nearing the end of the Pimsleur program and began to be exposed to Pinyin, for example here at Chinesepod and also from FSI, it all immediately made sense and there was absolutely no conscious effort to "learn Pinyin". It's extremely logical, and simple, and if you can distinguish and reproduce all the sounds in standard Mandarin it shouldn't take more than a few hours to get.
I recommend not bothering with Pinyin until it becomes effortless to learn. Characters on the other hand, by all means, start as soon as possible.
Regarding the first link you posted changye, I would be wary of any written approach which makes analogies with English pronunciation. Without getting into details, internal variations in English make this extremely misleading. As an example, I would tell my parents and grandparents the following: The pinyin "wo" is almost identical to the English "war". This would make absolutely no sense to anyone unfamiliar with NY English. Likewise, a number of English words with which John makes analogies, I would consider to be inappropriate due to his (admittedly more standard) accent. For example just looking at the pinyin "a" sounds, I consider "can", "father", "on" to be terrible examples.
RJDecember 05, 2009, 08:05 PM
I think you have to keep the limitations of pinyin in mind but I still find it a helpful and necessary part of the equation. I found Pimsleur to be very difficult because I could not make out exactly what they were saying. I often could not distinguish between ta and da, or shi and zhe, or qi and chi, qian and xian etc. Perhaps your ear is better than mine but when I found cpod it was like someone turned the light on.
andrew_cDecember 05, 2009, 09:38 PM
I had that same issue too, big time, and rather than looking up the Pinyin I would really only worry about breaking down the sounds of words as far as Pimsleur did, and eventually I was able to make all the distinctions you listed, along with others that were initially very difficult. While some people are able to limit their reliance on Pinyin, I think that there is a serious risk of missing out on acquiring a much more accurate and natural pronunciation based on an audio approach.
I've heard Chinese students practicing at my university, based on written material, and their pronunciation was terrible. I think the same underlying problem is what leads to so many non-native speakers of English having such poor pronunciation.
I don't mean by any of this to prescribe how people should learn, just sharing my thoughts based on my own experience.
RJDecember 06, 2009, 12:06 PM
Interesting. How does one teach oneself to hear those differences? The way I approach it is to gain what I can by listening and then look at a transcript. By listening again I can now train myself to hear what I now know is there. Hopefully then in the future I will hear it without a transcript. Pronounciation I do by gradual improvement. This to is dependent on training my ears to hear. God bless those that can hear the subtle differences in chinese straight away.
andrew_cDecember 06, 2009, 04:33 PM
For me, I didn't go out of my way to teach myself. I avoided getting bogged down in the details of pronunciation, and focused on reproducing sounds in entire chunks (usually sentences). My pronunciation was definitely inaccurate in the beginning, but it eventually all came together without any directed effort: distinctions like ch vs. q, zh vs. j became like night and day, and sounds originally difficult for me like ri became easy. This was without ever learning or relying on Pinyin.
I also remember that for words I learned from Pimsleur, with a purely audio approach, my tones were near flawless; I could pretty much just say a word in my head and know the correct tone >90% of the time. Now that I rely on Pinyin much more my tones have really suffered.
I admit, that when something really wasn't clear to me later on, like whether or not 贵姓 ends with an "n" or "ng" I would occasionally just ask someone. But at no point was I reading word by word using Pinyin.
sebireDecember 06, 2009, 11:05 PM
You really don't have problems with 日？ I can't do r correctly. What I can do is a reasonable approximation, but it's definitely not exact. Wherever I move my tongue, I cannot replicate that sound. It's terribly annoying.
oranginaDecember 11, 2009, 02:50 PM
yes, but it looks to me that w228855601 is a representative of PinyinPro and that this is spam. This user just posted another message advertizing this program, and I also recieved a PM about this. It may be a fine product, but because of the dishonest and inappropriate method of advertising... I myself will not be using this application.
w228855601December 11, 2009, 03:49 PM
I am one of the developers of the app PinyinPro.
I am sorry for my inappropriate method of advertising. I apologize.
And I have edited my last post to let others to know that I am advertising my own app.
Thank you for your criticism.
oranginaDecember 12, 2009, 02:36 PM
My initial enthusiasm for user w228855601's honesty has died down... I think it is inappropriate to use a free week membership to advertise a product, however relevant to the community. The purpose of the free week membership is for people to check out the site before purchasing a membership. It is not a free clasified ad. (And as a business owner myself, I make liberal use of free classified ads... as they are intended to be used.) While I do still appreciate that w228855601 has identified themselves, it does not change the facts above.
The seeming increase in spam recently has irritated me, but I don't think you can prevent it without ending the free trial membership. I don't want that to happen, so I guess I should just calm down about the spam.
pretzellogicDecember 12, 2009, 03:09 PM
FWIW, I didn't learn pinyin until I had been taking mandarin for about a year. My wife's university mandarin instructor was a native speaker Chinese who forbade his students to look at or write Mandarin for the first few months. He only let them listen to it through tapes or him speaking. I do note that the Chinese natives tell me says my wife's pronunciation is excellent. I also note that the few people that i've met who try learning from pinyin only have bad pronunciation.
andrew_cDecember 07, 2009, 12:18 AM
I'll double check (people are very slow to criticize my pronunciation) but I've asked in the past and native speakers say I got it..... Although, trying to get someone to honestly critique my pronunciation is difficult.