Mandarin Language Phonetics Guide

I have a client that is bravely and enthusiastically studying Mandarin here in Shanghai a couple times a week.

She needs study material and diagrams on how the mouth forms Mandarin sounds. Tounge placement, shape of the mouth, asperation points, etc. For example, this would show the differences between ci, xi, si or between xi and shi.

Anyone have a link to an on line guide? Or recommend a practical beginner book? My client has a teacher and lessons, but I’m trying to help her to the point where she can easily pronounce pinyin and then start to be able to use a dictionary and phrasebook to communicate.

I’ll go by the foreign language bookstore today to see what I can find. Thanks!!!

There’s a great guide in the beginning of Fenn & Tewksbury. This is the book that got me started, and I’m told my Mandarin has almost no accent.

It doesn’t have the diagrams, but it has some great hints for the English speaker on how to construct the sounds that aren’t native to English (like distinguishing ‘j’ from ‘zh’ and making the unaspirated initial ‘b’).

This book uses the Yale romanization, which I still feel is better for a Western student than Pinyin. It makes learning the pronunciations much easier, and is easily mapped into Pinyin when necessary.

I found this interesting, and more generally…


Thanks all.

Hemlock - the Sinosplice site seems pretty good.

Charizard - no way I’m going to inflict Yale on a rookie in China. Have to learn pinyin with no exceptions to get around with the signs, dictionaries, etc. (I agree that Yale’s a good system, and especially 25 years ago Yale was the only system with stories, movies, readers, etc to go along with the standard text books.)

I went by the Foreign Language Bookstore and another bookstore that had Mandarin books. Didn’t really find anything appropriate. In fact less comprehensive than the Sinosplice site. There was a software program, but it was neither comprehensive nor easy to understand.