Kunming College of Eastern Language
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Overcome the Accent, Speak Standard Chinese

Recently, a reality show on a Russian TV station called “Learning Chinese From Zero” has attracted the attention of Chinese netizens through a video website. The content of the program was that the host taught several entertainers to speak Chinese. But the host’s Chinese pronunciation was not standard enough, and the class was filled with strange accents. Internet users have expressed their frustration at the tone.

In order to truly master Chinese, the pronunciation must reach a relatively standard level. So, what good methods can help foreign Chinese learners overcome the “foreign accent”?

The accent of foreign Chinese learners is called “phonetic error” in the academic circles. Many teachers of Chinese as a foreign language emphasize that phonetic errors must be corrected at the beginning of students' learning of Chinese pronunciation, or they will have a greater negative impact.

Tone is the “most important area” of speech errors. In this regard, Ding Xianfeng, a teacher from Chinese Language Institute of Beijing Language and Culture University designed the imitation method for international students. There are 20 tone combination patterns of disyllabic words in Chinese. When students come across new words, they only need to use familiar words belonging to the same tone pattern to imitate them. Just remember the 20 simple disyllables that belong to each of the 20 tone patterns, and pay close attention to the feeling and rhythm of the pronunciation.

Some initials and finals in Chinese are also difficult for foreign Chinese learners. Therefore, the Chinese teacher should lead the students to feel the pronunciation parts and methods carefully. Liu Xiangjun, a Chinese language teacher from Hanrui University in South Korea, teaches Korean students who have no basic in Chinese. By understanding the characteristics of Korean pronunciation, she begins to teach Chinese pinyin, pointing out the areas where students are prone to errors in pronunciation and pitch, and using tongue maps to demonstrate the correct parts and methods of pronunciation for students to practice repeatedly. The targeted exercise and intensive training have good effect.

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Overcome the Accent, Speak Standard Chinese