Living in China

Sara’s Mandarin Monday: 新的学期来了!

There is something strange happening in the video after 01:15. My voice suddenly starts getting slower and slower like I turn into a man! I try to fix it, but until that I hope you atleast have fun!

[local /wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Video@2012_0221_111844.wmv]

Shortly in English: In this short video I’m explaining why this Mondarin Monday is on Tuesday and what are my plans for the week. New term at the university is beginning and I’m looking forward to it!

Let me know your thought about my current level at spoken Chinese. Thank you!


  • Confused Laowai

    Hey Sara,

    can you maybe upload this video to Youtube/Youku? I can’t seem to get this video to play. On a MAC here and I’m having some trouble with .wmv files.

    Sara Reply:

    I uploaded it to Youku and you can see it here:

    Unfortunately only the first minute makes any sense as after that the voice starts to get slower and slower and then fading away completely. I have no idea how that happened, but I try to shoot another one as soon as possible!

  • orange_rain

    Omiin korviini puhe kuulostaa todella hyvältä ja selkeältä, tosin en kyllä hirveästi tajua kun oma taso on vielä niin alkeellinen:D

    Sara Reply:

    Kiitos :) Ystavani joka ei ole vuoteen kuullut minun puhuvan kiinaa sanoi, etta kuulostan ainakin vahan vahemman ulkomaalaiselta kuin ennen.

  • Jack

    Sounds good! You just need to work on your tones more. It seems you are quite fluent already, I can understand most (until the middle part where the sound starts to get screw up). I can’t stress how important the tones are in Chinese since MOST Chinese words have same Pinyin but only differ in tones; even for a native speaker when you pronounce a word with wrong tone its very noticeable. So tones are very important. If you master the tones, you master about 80% of the spoken Chinese (the other 20% is probably just how to speak effectively by speaking “emotively” to convey your intent (so you don’t sound like a perfect sounding robot with no emotion).

    Also, go out and speak with people! Don’t be shy! Make friends! Go join clubs!! I think your chinese is already pretty fluent, you just need more practice, and interactions to correct your pronunciations (and tones!). Pay close attention to how a native speaker speaks and try to emulate the tone of speech (and remember the situational/ emotional context because they affects the tones too! some extents). Its a reason why I recommended you to watch TV Drama (or movies) because you can learn the emotional delivery of speech and how it affects the tones.

    Overall good effort! I hope to see more of it!! (and maybe upload to youtube! Its easier and faster for us living in the west….Youku is awefully slow for me) 加油! 加油! 加油!! :)

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you for your opinion Jack! I think I haven’t paid enough attention to my tones and at this point I guess I should speak slower in order to remember to pronounce all the tones correctly. Sometimes I read a cd and repeat in order to improve my tones and pronunciation. I’ve also recently watched quite a lot of TV drama and I hope that helps my spoken Chinese too, like you said.

    I’m so sorry but it takes such a long time to upload to videos, so I still haven’t got the time to upload to Youtube.

  • ordinary malaysian

    @Jack, oh Jack, are you looking for perfection? Only the dead is perfect in silence. Does anyone ‘speak’ perfect language? Is there a perfect way of speaking English, French, Russian, Tagalog or Malay? Even in China there are variations, different tonal emphasis; some guy from one region may not understand or catch which is spoken by another guy from another region of the country. There is spoken English English, spoken American English, spoke Australian English (which is quite hard to get at sometimes, no?) spoken French English, spoken Indian English, even spoken Malaysian English lah… So long as generally you can make yourself understood… Of course there are people who pretend or make not to understand because the spoken doesn’t(seem to) match? what? Your standard, my standard, their standard? Ha, ha. Ease off man. Unless one is way off, snob is not the name a language make.

    Jack Reply:

    I am not suggesting she should speak perfectly, I am encouraging her to become proficient and at least sounding like a local. Of course I know there are variations or dialect in any language, like in English – but “Chinglish” is not something you want to aim for. People KNOW you are a FOB (Fresh-off-the-boat) if they hear you speak Chinglish. Same with Chinese – you don’t want to aim to be just sounding like a Laowai all your life. There is always room for improvement, and you should strive for it.

    And speaking perfectly like a local only make you “normal” (in my case).

    Sara Reply:

    I have to agree with you that even though nothing is perfect, we should aim higher and I do hope to sound more like a local than a laowai. I’m glad that Chinese people usually understand me quite well, but I hope to get my Chinese to a level where a person in the phone probably don’t know I’m a laowai.

  • watcher

    i agree with jack.. to speak like a native/local in china, yer gotta hang out with them and learn from how they speak.

    Learning to write in a language is one thing and speaking in conversations is another skill itself yet to be mastered

    Sara Reply:

    I really hope to make some Chinese friends so that my boyfriend isn’t the only native person I speak Chinese to. My schedule seems to be quite thight this semester, so I’m not sure if I have time to join any clubs though.

  • watcher

    trying to speak a language well is like trying to learn something and make something out of it once you do it well.

    i can’t see why it would be about belittling others. why stay average and be medicore…when we can learn to become better and better at what we do? there’s nothing wrong with trying to be impeccable