Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shēngdiào

My Chinese teacher Susan (the one who laughs with me) has decided that I've made unexpected and sudden progress in my 声调 shengdiao, my tones. Not in recognizing them (that's often still like guessing in a cantron exam for me), but in pronouncing them. If I know what tone I'm pronouncing, I can apparently give it just the right spin! What did I do, she asked? I might have said: you asked me to practice telling a paragraph from a fairy tale, and exaggerated pronunciation seems less contrived here. What I said was: 因为我感冒了!yinwei wo ganmoa le (because I caught a cold). But the real reason, I think, isn't what I did
but what she's been doing. She's taken me systematically through all twelve different combinations of tones - you'll be as appalled as I was to learn that the tones change in combination - composing the materials herself. (Above is an example, third tone followed by second.) After we go through them she records them and sends me the sound files to imitate. I've still got miles to go but I'm in good hands! 多谢,老师!

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