Would be better to memorise the sounds rather than phonetic spellings

I'm not enjoying learning the extra phonetic language here. It would be better if the test played you the sound, and asked you to identify the symbol. Currently, I have to learn the sounds, as well as the strange (and not intuitive) spelling the phonetics actually use for said sounds. I appreciate that it is the only way to "test" if people are pronouncing things correctly, but it is an added layer of transcription, meaning an entire extra layer of detail to memorise. Slightly disheartening...I'll stick at it...

Posted by ChrisKoko77 11/26/12, last update 2/6/13 (1 year ago)
  • Does this not mean you're also learning pinyin, which will help in the future (because it's the standard latin transcription, so can be used to present new words)? For the moment I'm skipping the spoken language - getting the characters solid first.

    Posted by jwdeans 11/26/12 (1 year ago)
  • What a retarded thread.

    Posted by Pope_Pius_IX 11/26/12 (1 year ago)
  • I'm skipping pinyin and just learning to read at the moment

    Posted by jtwarta 11/26/12 (1 year ago)
  • It is thanks to your insightful contribution PP, yes.

    Posted by ChrisKoko77 11/26/12 (1 year ago)
  • The pinyin is hard but if you haven't tried already, you should go to HSK level1. The symbols are introduced in a more logical manner which helps you to get a better hold on the pinyin. For example, all of the first ten or so symbols are in 3rd tone, then we meet some of the same sounds in first and fourth tone. it's actually fun! I'm considering dropping this course until I've gone through HSK level1(although I enjoy the fact that this is so much harder it makes the other one seem easy afterwards).

    Posted by martin.corey1 11/26/12 (1 year ago)
  • In 2011, the Chinese government actually announced that they might go away from the characters/symbols and switch to a latinized version (most likely pinyin). Not sure what happened with that plan, but I'd not like it. http://eastasiastudent.net/yurenjie/world-asia-pacific-42424242.html

    A few years ago when I lived in China and Taiwan for some months I learned rudimentary things via pinyin and listening to podcasts about basic conversations, but found that pretty hard. I, too, seem to memorize the symbols better. So my current plan is that I'll start with that for a few hundred words and enjoy that I can recognize more and more characters when reading, before then switching to speaking, listening, and writing skills (as well as adding grammar and more complete sentences over time).

    Posted by Onyro 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • This thread: "I'm not enjoying learning the extra phonetic language here. I appreciate that it is the only way to "test" if people are pronouncing things correctly, but it is an added layer of transcription, meaning an entire extra layer of detail to memorise." [I don't want to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese]

    "It would be better if the test played you the sound, and asked you to identify the symbol" [Notwithstanding the fact that the application actually plays you the sound in three different voices, I am too important to force myself to make use of countless other academic and non-academic resources available outside memrise for the purpose of developing my phonetic skills]

    "I have to learn the sounds, as well as the strange (and not intuitive) spelling" [I think that English language spelling is far more logical and intuitive]

    Posted by Pope_Pius_IX 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • Try HSK 1; maybe it will be better for you.

    Posted by Pope_Pius_IX 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • Did I mention that I often find myself getting under 30% on the pronunciation tasks? It is hard but also fascinating!

    Posted by martin.corey1 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • PP. The only retarded person on this thread continues to be you. Please fuck off you asinine chipolata-dicked schoolboy. The cartoons make you look even more stupid than your written comments.

    Posted by ChrisKoko77 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • Thank Martin. You are right that the fact that they are introduced poorly in 1-500 is coming in to play here. If they were at least introduced in groups (so you are introduced to all the 1-type sounds first, then the second etc) then it would be more logical and easier to memorise. Seems silly that a course labelled 1-500 would not be suitable for beginners. Why not introduce pinyin sensibly in both courses rather than just the HSK one

    Posted by ChrisKoko77 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • Hahaha, butthurt much?

    Posted by Pope_Pius_IX 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • Onyro, the post you are referring to about Hanzi being abolished is a hoax.

    Posted by justin.w 11/27/12 (1 year ago)
  • Ah, interesting. Looked like a copy of a BBC post. Thanks, good to know we are not learning characters only to have them relegated to the status of an outdated artifact from the past in a few years :-)

    Posted by Onyro 11/28/12 (1 year ago)
  • I am glad to know that others are finding pinyin to be much more difficult than Hanzi. I am just going through and learning the characters and their oral pronunciations first (listening very carefully to each one and repeating it every time). After I have mastered that for this level, I plan to go back to pinyin. This seems like a more sensible method since the sounds I hear don't seem to match up that well sometimes with how I would pronounce the pinyin transliteration and getting the oral pronunciation down correctly would seem to be of greater practical importance.

    Posted by WatsonandtheShark 11/30/12 (1 year ago)
  • Watson

    "the sounds I hear don't seem to match up that well sometimes with how I would pronounce the pinyin transliteration"

    Pinyin has its own pronunciation rules. It might be nicer for us if they'd followed english rules but unfortunately for us that just isn't the way it works.

    But it is the standard, and it is the way people do things, so in a way you really do have to do it.

    That said, like learning the rules of any language (Itallian doesn't sound things the way English does) once you understandand their rules and its own logic it does get easier.

    Posted by rupert_baines 1/12/13 (1 year ago)
  • Yes, of course, there isn't an exact match up, but the lack of a match up is what makes getting the sounds correct in the first place even more important. R in ren2, for example, is not a sound that exists in the English-speaking world as far as I am aware (even regarding "English rules", the pronunciation of r is quite varied in English-speaking places (for example, Nebraska, Edinburgh and London). Mandarin has many more sounds that don't have any English equivalents than the European languages I have studied (including Italian), not to mention the tones. I have looked up guides, but they describe the same sounds quite differently, although they have given me an idea of what to listen out for. I know that if memorise a pronunciation incorrectly, I find it difficult to sort it out. In German, it took me ages to turn my incorrect bissch-en into the correct biss-chen, so I would rather get the pronunciation right the first time around. At any rate, I am doing pinyin now, and not finding it too hard.

    Posted by WatsonandtheShark 1/15/13 (1 year ago)
  • When I first learnt Mandarin years ago, the first thing we did was to go through "the alphabet", i.e., what some people call "bo po mo fo". See, e.g., http://sononi.com/data/bopomofo/bopomofo.gif We didn't use the funny symbols (which have in any case been phased out in the PRC, but may still be in used in Taiwan), only the latin letters. But the way in which the sounds are arranged makes it very easy to learn how they should be pronounced. Maybe a course on "bo po mo of" is what is needed for beginners to decipher the pinyin system.

    Posted by puffino 1/25/13 (1 year ago)
  • Onyro, did you not notice the date of that BBC report? It was 01 April 2011 ! However, the romanization of Chinese writing was seriously considered by the Communists in the early revolutionary period, and Pinyin was the result of that. If you want to know more background about the Chinese language in general, I would recommend John DeFrancis, “The Chinese Language, Fact and Fantasy” (University of Hawaii Press, 1984).

    Posted by Frogball 1/29/13 (1 year ago)
  • I'm not an expert, but my experience is that it is worth taking a little time to learn the pronunciation of pinyin, because pinyin being completely phonetic, once you do the "extra layer of transcription" completely disappears. In addition, learning pinyin will actually help you to hear better. I , for instance, had a hard time hearing the difference between 'qu' and 'chu', or 'ju' and 'zhu' before reading up on it.

    The best reference that I came across for learning pinyin is at http://chinesepod.com/tools/pronunciation

    Posted by Runyan 2/6/13 (1 year ago)