Living in China

Sara’s Mandarin Monday: Introducing my schedule in Chinese (video clip)


This week’s video took me longer than a day to upload (that’s also the reason why there’s no Youtube version yet), but here it finally is! In this short video clip I show you my schedule for the semester. If you are interested, I could introduce my lessons (in English) a little bit better later on when I’ve tried them all. I got some new courses because this semester I started my Teaching Chinese lessons (other option was Business Chinese).

Any kind of meaningful feedback is welcomed! I really hope that shooting these short videos will help me to improve my spoken Chinese. Even though it’s painful to watch them!


  • Orachat

    Hi Sara,

    Your video is great. Sharp image and clear sound. It’s great that you do this Chinese speaking video, the length of the video is about right.

    I myself is really want to have a good chinese pronunciation, but still along way.

    May I ask, did you use digital camera or iPod/ iPad to record this. It’s very good quality outcome.
    Did you convert the video into another format from the original. It’s quite fast. I know youku is hosted in China so that would be one reason for the fast speed loading.

    Hope to see more video like this :-)


    Sara Reply:

    Hi Orachat,

    I shot it with my digital camera and the quality would be better if I would have done it in day light, but had to do it at the evening. But nice to hear it looks sharp to you.

    I also didn’t change anything, just uploaded it straight to Youku. Yeah, Youku is really fast in China (especially if you use Iku), but seems to be really slow outside.

    Good luck with your Chinese studies!

  • MandMx

    Hey Sara: Mx and I saw your video on and Mx was shocked at your drive to study Chinese in Guangzhou. Your Chinese is really good, and Mx said there was no grammar issues. (She constantly corrects my poor grammar so that IS a compliment!) Are you learning Cantonese at all? I admire your guts to record and post your video!

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you both M and Mx! Studying Mandarin in Guangzhou really isn’t as bad as people think. Pretty much everyone can speak Mandarin here and there are also a lot of people around China that have come here to study or work. You might get a taxi and notice that the driver doesn’t speak any Cantonese!

    I’m studying Cantonese too, having one lesson at the university every week. At the moment I can only introduce my self very shortly and say some simple sentences. But I hope to improve my Cantonese too during this spring. Luckily my current class for Cantonese has only 10 students and all are better than me, so I can learn a lot from all of them.

    p.s. Recording is ok if I don’t have to watch my videos myself ;)

  • liis

    I agree with the other comments — very cool that you are posting videos! Although i like reading your articles in Chinese as well :) 加油!

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you Iiis!

  • c

    i loved it. Your delivery pace is good understood you right away. your chinese acccent is not so strong (that it sounds ‘curly’). it’s neutral.

    Sara Reply:

    Nice to hear that you understood me :)

    c Reply:

    i had to deal with chinese people from china before. their accents was so strong, i could barely figure what they were saying. it’s better to sound neutral and speak with clarity. Once you get a hang with how to say the words with tones.. you’ll sound like you’re reciting poetry or a song!

  • Ling Ling

    Hi! Your tones are slightly off, for example when you say kǒuyǔ you are supposed to change the first third tone into second tone.

    Sara Reply:

    You know, my first Chinese teacher who also thaught as pronunciation didn’t teach us about the tone sandhi. Also when I’m speaking at a normal speed I forget to think about the tones. I’ve got advice that I should speak slower in order to get better tones, but in many cases I haven’t been patient enough to actually do so.

  • Ramona

    Hei Sara!
    Minulta löytyisi sinulle yksi aiheeseen liittymätön kysymys.
    Miten helposti olet saanut kiinalaisia kavereita itsellesi?
    Minusta vaihto-oppilaana paikallisten kavereiden saaminen on kuin mission impossible. Koska minun ikäiseni nuoret (15-20vee) tuntevat olonsa hyvin epämukavaksi ulkomaalaisen kanssa. Ja koulussa en kavereita saa koska kaikki ovat kiinnostuneita vain opiskelusta, eikä yhteisiä kiinnostuksen kohteita löydy.

    Kiitos jo etukäteen sinulle :)

    Sara Reply:

    Hei Ramona!

    Minulla on aika samanlaisia kokemuksia, eika minulla oikeastaan ole kunnon kiinalaisia ystavia (tuttavia lukuunottamatta). Kiinalaiset ovat kylla hyvin uteliaita ulkomaalaisia kohtaan, mutta ongelmaksi voi koitua se, etta en halua olla ilmainen englannin opettaja. Toivoisin myoskin ystavyyden kasvavan niin, etta ollaan minusta itsestani kiinnostuneita, eika kerailla ulkomaalaisten puhelinnumeroita. Tata oli paljon varsinkin alussa toisessa yliopistossa. Nykyisessa opinahjossani en ole liiemmin ollut kiinalaisten kanssa tekemisissa. (Taha ei lasketa mukaan paria luokkakaveria, joide vanhemmat ovat kiinalaisia, mutta heilla on ulkomaan passi).

    Voin myoskin hieman syyttaa itseani, silla en ole kovin aktiivisesti uusia ystavia myoskaan etsinyt. En ole se kaikista aktiivisin ja kovaaanisin sosiaalisissa tilanteissa :) Toivon kuitenkin, etta tulevien vuosien aikana, varsinkin kun kielitaitoni kohenee, loytaisin aitoja kiinalaisia ystavia ja paasisin paremmin integroitumaan tahan maahan. Paikallisissa ystavissa on myos se hyva puoli, etta he harvemmin katoavat toiselle puolelle maailmaa kuten vaihtarikaverit tekevat :)

  • heahe

    hi, Sara,
    your oral chinese is very well. a trick for perfect spoken chinese: don’t open your mouth too big or large. I taugth my foreigh colleague the Chinese and found western foreigher always open big or large mouth to pronounce the Chinese word. If you reduce your mouth,your pronounce would be significantly improved. I tried the trick for my colleague. On the contrary, Chinese speak latin lang with some problem of pronounciation due to mouth too small.

  • Kaiwen

    Very cool that you posted a vid, 加油

    If you can focus on one thing, maybe work pronunciation of /x/ like in the xing of 星期 or in 选修课. How long have you been learning mandarin?


    Sara Reply:

    Thank you for the tip Kaiwen! I’ve been learning Mandarin for 3,5 years now and 2 of them in China. How are your studies in Shanghai?

  • Orachat

    Hi Sara,
    I watched your video again -thought it’s new one :-)
    Do you know Livemocha web site. There are many nice users there that are willing to check / correct pronunciation.
    I am not dare to correct your pronunciation as I’m also a chinese learner. I had a great lessons especially for pronunciation, the teacher taught me all necessaries needed to know about chinese pronunciation. But my problem is lack of practice because I don’t live among chinese environment.

    Since you are at Chinese University, why not take a class on pronunciation (or speaking class). From what I saw in your video, you just need the basic rules of pronunciation and the practice of different sounds (words) in sentences. Then you will be perfect!


    Sara Reply:

    Hi Orachat,

    Yes I’ve heard about Livemocha. I also pasted a small audio of my pronunciation to Chinese-Forums, that’s another great place to get feedback of your Chinese pronunciation. Have you visited that forum?

    We don’t have a pronunciation course that I could choose, they expect us to be bettar by now :) Our speaking class at the moment also doesn’t help with my pronunciation. Because I didn’t work hard enough with this in the beginning (while still in Finland) I have to tackle this now on my own. I’ve found tro great apps to help me and combined with the advice I got from the forums, I hope to be able to improve. I’ll write more about this later.

    Thank you for your comment!

    Orachat Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for the link to the Chinese-forum, I sometimes got great info. / resources there.

    No problem on re-establish pinyin improvement. I just got that great pinyin class a year ago, after studied chinese on and off for 3 yrs ;-). I now confident on pinyin and know how to correct the pronunciation by myself (along with checking the sound with Pleco app).

    Talking about app, I use Pleco chinese-english dictionary app.
    Download free “My chinese library”, check out the Pronunciation Guide. It provides quite good interactive sounds and rules on pronunciation – not all but good enough. Also with the same creator, try Writer app – great for learning writing Hanzi and fun to practice – Love it!

    Look forward to read about yr post on pronunciation :-)