Archive for the ‘Mandarin’ Category
If you are serious about learning Chinese, you need to learn Chinese characters. However, what if you don’t know how to pronounce the new Chinese characters that you encounter? Pinyin is the official Chinese pronunciation system.
You can find this definition from Wikipedia
Pinyin (Chinese: 拼音; pinyin: pīnyīn; Mandarin pronunciation: [pʰɪ́n jɪ́n]) is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet to teach Mandarin Chinese in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters (汉字 / 漢字, hànzì) into computers.
This article is also an answer to a question from one of our visitors: “Is there a manderin alphabet? How do you find out the four tones written about, what significance are tones.” So Pinyin is the “Mandarin alphabet” he is asking for.
Then what are the four tones of Mandarin? You may also find the definition of “tones” from Wikipedia
The pinyin system also uses diacritics to mark the four tones of Mandarin. The diacritic is placed over the letter that represents the syllable nucleus, unless that letter is missing (see below). Many books printed in China use a mix of fonts, with vowels and tone marks rendered in a different font from the surrounding text, tending to give such pinyin texts a typographically ungainly appearance. This style, most likely rooted in early technical limitations, has led many to believe that pinyin’s rules call for this practice and also for the use of a Latin alpha (“ɑ”) rather than the standard style of the letter (“a”) found in most fonts. The official rules of Hanyu Pinyin, however, specify no such practice.
- The first tone (Flat or High Level Tone) is represented by a macron (ˉ) added to the pinyin vowel:
- ā (ɑ̄) ē ī ō ū ǖ Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū Ǖ
- The second tone (Rising or High-Rising Tone) is denoted by an acute accent (ˊ):
- á (ɑ́) é í ó ú ǘ Á É Í Ó Ú Ǘ
- The third tone (Falling-Rising or Low Tone) is marked by a caron/háček (ˇ). It is not the rounded breve (˘), though a breve is sometimes substituted due to font limitations.
- ǎ (ɑ̌) ě ǐ ǒ ǔ ǚ Ǎ Ě Ǐ Ǒ Ǔ Ǚ
- The fourth tone (Falling or High-Falling Tone) is represented by a grave accent (ˋ):
- à (ɑ̀) è ì ò ù ǜ À È Ì Ò Ù Ǜ
- The fifth tone (Neutral Tone) is represented by a normal vowel without any accent mark:
- a (ɑ) e i o u ü A E I O U Ü
So what significance are tones?
With different tones, the same initial and final combination may have different or even opposite meanings. For example, mai2 with the 2nd tone means “buy”, but mai4 with the 4th tone means “sell”. tang1 means “soup”, tang2 “sugar”, tong3 “lie” and tang4 “hot”
A great way to help yourself to get familiar with Pinyin is to start with following:
Believe it or not, Khuang was one of the first sites to publish Mandarin Chinese learning on the Web. We didn’t update the site for while some time because of our busy schedule.
Now, we try to bring you more Chinese learning resources created by ourselves or other great Webmasters.
Here’s what we have for Mandarin learning:
Learn Mandarin Section on KHuang.com
To learn a new language, it is great to learn to write or type the new words when you learn them.
You may see some programs name “Type and Learn Chinese ( or the language you learn”. I highly recommend them. Because this was how I learn English too. It was hard for me to learn the single English words one by one, I learned them in the article or conversation. I also used a pen and paper to write the whole sentences or paragraphs where the new words are used.
To begin something useful, here’s the 1st example. How to type “明天就是中国新年了” (Tomorrow is Chinese New Year)
Mandarin word of the day: http://chinesebay.com/blog/chinese-tools/mandarin-word-of-the-day/mandarin-word-of-the-day-archive/?cday=20101125
Is it a war between Cantonese and Mandarin or Cantnoese-speakers and Mandarin-speakers? Haha, no. This column is more of a bridge between.
As a fluent Cantonese and Mandarin speaker, I love both languages and the people who speak either or both. So often that I found lots of inefficient communication between the two native speakers who use the wrong pronunciation or expressions (different Chinese characters) that leads to misunderstanding.
I can help them, with my articles here, in a series. I wrote an articles about Cantonese and Mandarin more than 10 years and published here, which has made khuang.com the #1 site about Mandarin and Cantonese differences in Google and other major search engines. If you are one of those searchers, I hope you will find my new articles or free lessons helpful. If you still have questions or request for new contents, please contact us.
My main purpose is to help beginners to choose the right Chinese language to begin with, or help Mandarin-speakers to learn Cantonese or Cantonese-speakers to learn Mandarin.
A great TTS (Text to Speech) tool may help you to learn Chinese with ease and fun.
ChineseBay.com is brewing this kind of language learning tool for Chinese learners. Try out their Mandarin version.
Maybe you don’t even have to know how to type the Chinese characters. For example, want to say “Please tell me how to do it” in Chinese (click the link here.)? They show you how to read the characters aloud one after another. You are right, it is not quite natural or sound just like a robot. Sometimes the tones are not quite correct because of the rules for tone Sandhi, but it is still a good way to practice Mandarin pronunciation.
Need to learn the natural way to speak that sentence too? Try the Mandarin Word/Sentence of the Day: The Natural Mandarin Speaking Version for Please tell me how to do it. Sure it sounds better than Google Translate’s version.
I know that Google translate now give the sound of Chinese characters as well, but ChineseBay’s version sound much better for Chinese learners.
We hope that we’ll have a version for Cantonese characters too.
Where Cantonese & Mandarin Are Spoken
Mandarin (國語 or 普通話) is the official language in Mainland China and Taiwan and is used by most of the Chinese schools, colleges and unversities and in most of the TV programs, movies, and radio stations all over the country (even in Guangzhou or Canton where people speak Cantonese in their daily life.) Mandarin is one of the five official languages in the United Nations.
Even Hong Kong schools are switching to Mandarin education from its Cantonese education after or even a little before 1997 (when UK ended its colony status there.) RTHK has added a Mandarin radio station and lots of Mandarin TV programs.You can even get different languages spoken for the same programs in the same channel with a special device built in their TV sets. more on “Differences between the two Chinese languages”