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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Chinese Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn 6 Chinese consonants.
-r, x, sh, r-, j, q
These consonant sounds do not appear in English, so they'll likely be new to you.
Be sure to practice them because these are unique sounds which learners often get wrong!
Are you ready? Then let's get started!
The first consonant is...
-r
哪儿 nǎr "where"
一点儿 yīdiǎnr "a little"
没事儿 méishì'r "It's ok."
This consonant sound is special because it only occurs at the end of a word, and in certain dialects, you may not hear it at all.
(Retroflex approximant) You can think of this consonant as an overexaggerated R-sound.
American speakers can typically produce this sound when saying the word 'error'.
To get a better understanding of what this feels like, trying saying the word very slowly, while exaggerating the R-sound.
Focus on the double R at the beginning of the word.
Your tongue should be curled upwards, just past your gum ridge.
Listen to how Yinru pronounces this sound.
ɻ, ɻ (slowly)
ɻ, ɻ (slowly)
The next two sounds that we'll tackle are often very difficult for English speakers to differentiate. So pay extra attention!
Both of these consonants sound like the 'sh' in sheep, however they not the same. Be extra careful because it's *essential* that you distinguish between the two following sounds.
The first 'sh' sounding consonant is...
x
西安 Xī'ān (Xi'an)
小 xiǎo
谢谢 xièxie "thanks"
(Voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant) This sounds like an S-sound mixed with a little bit of an SH-sound.
It's best to think of this consonant as a constricted SH-sound, or as if you were trying to 'hush' an S.
One trick to producing this sound, is to try and say the word 'ship' while keeping the tip of your tongue in contact with the bottom teeth at all times, and using the blade of your tongue to produce the hushing sound. Do not protrude your lips as you would in English, they should remain spreaded."
ɕ, ɕ (slowly)
ɕ, ɕ (slowly)
The second 'sh' sounding consonant is...
sh
石 shí
上海 Shànghǎi
神圣 shénshèng "sacred"
(Voiceless retroflex sibilant) This sounds like an overexaggerated sh-sound.
The easiest way to pronounce this consonant, is to first try and pronounce an R-sound. Now, with your tongue in that position, try to make a 'sh' sound at the same time.
It's kind of like you're saying the word 'sure'. Got it?
Your tongue should be curled upwards. In fact, it should be in exactly the same position as the overexaggerated R that we just learned at the beginning of this lesson!
Now listen to how Yinru says it.
ʂ, ʂ (slowly)
ʂ, ʂ (slowly)
The next consonant is...
r-
肉 ròu
热 rè "hot"
日本人 Rìběnrén "Japanese people"
(Voiced retroflex sibilant) This is identical to the previous sound.
The only difference is that this consonant is voiced. Meaning that you should feel vibrations coming from your throat.
It almost sounds like a mix of an R and a Z-sound. Listen to how Yinru pronounces this sound.
ʐ, ʐ (slowly)
ʐ, ʐ (slowly)
Do you remember the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds?
Aspirated consonants have a burst or release of air, while unaspirated sounds do not.
The next two sounds distinguish between the two, so pay close attention!
The aspirated one is...
j
北京 Běijīng
姐姐 jiějie "elder sister"
再见 zàijiàn "goodbye"
(Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate) This sound is like a combination between a T-sound, and the constricted sh-sound that you learned earlier.
Try to keep the tip of your tongue behind the bottom teeth and use the blade of your tongue to make the contact instead. Additionally, this is an unaspirated sound, so you don't want to blow out a puff of air. Otherwise, you'd be saying a different word!"
t͡ɕ, t͡ɕ (slowly)
t͡ɕ, t͡ɕ (slowly)
The unaspirated one is...
q
钱 qián
去 qù "to go to"
请 qǐng "please"
(Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate aspirated) This sound is identical to the previous one, however the difference is that it's the aspirated counterpart. Meaning, you want to release a burst of air.
Listen to how Yinru says it and try to hear the difference.
t͡ɕʰ, t͡ɕʰ (slowly)
t͡ɕʰ, t͡ɕʰ (slowly)
Well done! You just learned another 6 Chinese consonants.
-r, x, sh, r-, j, q
These consonant sounds do not appear in English, so be sure to practice them!
In the next lesson, you'll learn 5 more Chinese consonants that are unique to English speakers.
How do these sounds compare to the ones you learned in the previous lesson? Please comment and share your thoughts.
See you in the next Ultimate Chinese Pronunciation Guide lesson!

21 Comments

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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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How do these sounds compare to the ones you learned in the previous lesson? Please comment and share your thoughts.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 10:20 PM
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Hello Hann Chong,


Thank you for your comment. We're glad to know that you found the videos helpful. Thank you for your suggestion, we will consider it for our future development.


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Hann Chong
Wednesday at 06:07 AM
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These new consonants videos are difficult to follow along due to the order of examples in the video. I feel like the mouth cross-section should have been at the beginning of each consonant before the words are pronounced. I'm constantly skipping back and forth throughout the video to practice using my mouth and tongue placement while saying the example words.


Other than that, showing that cross section really helps in understanding how to pronounce them properly.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:24 PM
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你好 robert groulx!


不用谢。(Bú yòng xiè.) = No need for thanks. You're welcome. 😇


谢谢 (Xièxie) for studying with us, it's great to have you here!


Let us know if you have any questions.


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 10:48 PM
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thank you for the lesson transcript


favorite word is 神圣


robert

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 08:01 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Kristine,


Thank you for your positive comment, we're glad to hear that! 😄


Keep it up and let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Kristine
Monday at 07:43 PM
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These are also tough. But good thing Ive learned from this video. So helpful and explained it very well! Thanks.

ChineseClass101.com
Tuesday at 04:03 PM
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Hello Derrick,


Nǐhǎo! Thank you for your positive comment! 😄


Keep it up and let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Derrick
Monday at 12:54 PM
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Nǐ hǎo...

Thanks for this lesson, especially on the -r, r- sounds. Showing the tongue placements really help!


Duō xiè.

ChineseClass101.com
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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Hi William,


Thank you for contacting us about this. As an Absolute beginner we suggest you start with the very basics: the alphabet and how to read and write Chinese. There is a whole series dedicated to the alphabet and learning how to write, so please consider starting there.


Another series that is worth watching really early in your Chinese learning is our pronunciation-related lessons.


You would then be ready to start with one of our main series, the Absolute Beginner series.


The next step would be the Beginner series, then the Upper Beginner, the Lower Intermediate, Intermediate, and finally the Upper Intermediate series. Each lesson of these series contains a dialogue and focuses on grammar, vocabulary, vocabulary usage, sample sentences and cultural notes.


In between these series, you can of course listen or watch other series too, depending on what appeals to you and your needs. However, the core grammar is found on the aforementioned series.


Should you need extra help with grammar, check out our grammar banks:

https://www.ChineseClass101.com/Chinese-grammar/


As for enriching your vocabulary, you can check out the vocabulary lists:

https://www.ChineseClass101.com/Chinese-vocabulary-lists/

We're constantly adding new content. Check out the other options under the menu ""Vocabulary"" as well.


And with ChineseClass101's Premium PLUS, you learn Chinese with your own teacher through 1-on-1 interaction anywhere, anytime. You will receive weekly assignments and non-stop feedback to always be improving. To understand better how it works, we suggest you to check the program http://www.ChineseClass101.com/myteacher


In case of any questions, please feel free to contact us.


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team ChineseClass101.com

William
Wednesday at 02:26 PM
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Hello

Also, I am an absolute beginner. I started taking the beginner courses and then I noticed the Ultimate Pronuncation beccause, based on what I heard in the beginner lessons, I thought it would help to start here.


Can you please recommend which courses I should take in which sequence?


Also, where are other students getting course guidance such as how many lesson to do per week?.


Thank you