Studying Chinese

Rate my Chinese! 2013 Edition

Here is a video I made for the Chinese Bridge competition. It’s a simple self introduction, but can also be seen as a proof of my current spoken Chinese level. Even though I passed HSK6, my spoken Chinese is still very simple.

New! For readers in China, now you can also watch the video in Youku!

I shared this on my Facebook Page a while ago, so if you want to get the latest news then be sure to follow me there!

You an also compare my Chinese in this video to my earlier video shot in April 2012. Can you hear any improvement between the two videos?

Please leave a comment with your grade for my Chinese!


  • 武天使

    In my opinion, you speak very clearly.
    I’m kind of surprised that you can still speak in such a “calm and academical” way after three years in GZ… compared to you, I truly speak kind of a “street chinese”, very fast, not that clear and my tones are rubbish :)

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    This is my applying-for-a-competition-keep-mistakes-minimal voice :) It’s the opposite when having an argue in Chinese for example.

  • cultureandorientalism.blogspot

    Hi! I’m an Italian guy and I’m interested in Chinese too. I felt in love with Chinese because of characters, I think they are one of the finest expression of art in the world. My Chinese is very far from being perfect, but I will try to give you some advices.

    Your written Chinese is amazing, I hope one day I will write something like you! Instead there’s a little problem with your spoken Chinese: it follows the same patterns used in textbooks, that are good for written Chinese or formal academic speeches, but not for informal natural conversationa. You could try to improve listening to TV talk shows :-)!

    Ajax151 Reply:

    >it follows the same patterns used in textbooks

    Yep as a native speaker I can confirm what cultureandorientalism.blogspot suggests. Too textbook. You gotta have more confidence in yourself. Learn slang, chat up strangers and watch more TV, these are as important to internalizing the language as your formal studies.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Ajax! As an introvert confidence isn’t easy for me, especially when shooting a video, but I’ll try to make a more natural video next time. One which isn’t meant for a competition.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you for watching the video and leaving a nice comment!

    As I was shooting for a competition I tried my best to have as correct pronunciation as possible, that resulted in “textbook Chinese” :) It’s also always quite intimidating for me to make a video of my self.

    You have an excellent tip, thank you! Watching Chinese TV, talk shows for example, is so great for listening, but also for speaking. I should definitely watch more Chinese TV. Haven’t done that for a while.

    About characters, I think it’s interesting sometimes how logical they can be. Especially those which are almost a picture and then those which combine the sound part and the meaning part.

    Best of luck with your Chinese! It’s an amazing journey.

  • Alysa

    Hi Sara! Do you think you could upload this video to youku? I’d love to see it, but many of us here in China can’t access youtube. :) Can’t wait to see it!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I’m uploading at this moment :) I’ll add the link to the post when it’s ready!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I’ve been trying to upload it for two days now and it always gets stuck at 87%. Hope to fix this problem soon!

    Alysa Reply:

    Ok, well at least you didn’t forget about it! Thanks for the effort :)

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I got it uploaded! Here’s the link:

  • DennisH

    I would say you speak very well Chinese (Mandarin). Next time I want to hear your Catonese.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Wow, that could take a while. I’m finding it hard to continue studying Cantonese and even harder to speak it to anyone!

    DennisH Reply:

    Understand. I know most Cantonese people hate to speak Mandarin. And they speak Mandarin with strong Cantonese accent. Can you understand them?

  • Claudia

    I think you did a otty good job! However, maybe your 发音 can be more accurate, because sometimes it gets a little jumbled and unclear to a native Chinese speaker. I actually thought learning from Beijing Chinese is the best, for the accent and pronunciation is the most clear. Good luck studying Chinese anyway, it’s so brave if you to do that ! (:

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Claudia! I think learning pronunciation is a long journey for me. It would help a lot to have a tutor from the North correcting me tough. Pronunciation is also something I’m thinking of working with, but often fail to find the time. Thank you for your encouragement!

  • NYC

    Overall, I think your pronunciation is clear. several comments.
    1. When you say”大家好”, it’s the first sentence, make sure it’s as clear as possible. Make clear distinction between “大家"and” 打架"。
    2 You do have an accent when you say it. Watch the news from CCTV, their pronunciation is flawless.
    3 The cats part is not as clear as the rest, I have to watch it twice to understand it.

  • Kaiser


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    我的发音也没那么标准啊!我说:喂猫、逗猫、hmm 还有一个但我忘了。我晚一点重新看一下。

    Kaiser Reply:

    喂猫,逗猫!你挺有意思!顺便说一下,虽然甚和很都是同义词, 我却没想到在句子中它们都不很可互换。因此请不理我上面写的甚。应该写很。我犯了语法错误。