Main Site Blog Help

Beng, peng and feng are still unclear

Lesson 14 was a revelation on how to pronounce the vowel sounds after b, p, m, and f. I’m pretty clear on bo, po, mo, and fo, but beng, peng, and feng are still hazy. Fiona and Frederic kept saying how the sound was somewhere between two extremes, but only pronounced them the correct way a few times, instead emphasizing how teachers get it wrong, I ended up not having good examples to practice against. Then when I listened to Constance, it sounded like she was pronouncing beng, peng, and feng as rhyming with the English “bung”, which was described as not really natural in the main lecture. Am I hearing Constance incorrectly, and is there a way to get more examples?


Hi Beirne,

Could you please find the Chinese characters to the words you mentioned? Could you also give us the links to the classes you are referring to? I want to help you… but I have no idea which words/characters you are referring to. Also, please put in the tones!


Hi Peggy,

This came up in Say It Right lesson 14. First tone is fine, you can pick any characters that match the pronunciation as the semantics do not matter.

Have you tried using Arch Chinese for pronouncation and strokes? You may find what you need there. Head to the dictionary.

I don’t need strokes to know how to pronounce pinyin, I was hoping for some help specific to this lesson.

Hey Beirne! You are right. The sound /beng/ in Mandarin is very similar to the /bung/ in English. If you can make your tongue forward and even touch your down teeth, then it will be the correct sound.
Sorry for my late response. Enjoy learning Chinese! :smile:

Here are some examples from Xu 老師 himself.




Please note:


The /bēng/ in the video is spoken with an exaggerate process to let learners feel the way when it is spoken or sung in Beijing opera. But in daily conversation, it sounds more like a frozen syllable, more like the sound of the /bèng/ in the clip. If you want to have some exercise of it, please do not let your tongue move back during the pronunciation, just keep it at the same position.


Gwilym, Beirne’s point about Lesson 14, from November 2016, is still good. The lesson video does not make these pronunciations clear. These three short videos of Xu 老師 that you have put up are helpful. Is there a way to incorporate them into the lesson? Or maybe add them as an extra lesson drill video?

Beirne is also right that this lesson is extremely helpful! Chinese friends keep trying to help me whenever i name the writer 莫言. The explanation of mo here is clearer than they have so far been, and it helps me a lot.

1 Like