Main Site Blog Help

Leave Your Feedback About the Say It Right Series

So pleased to know you like our series. 也很高兴知道我们的课程对你有帮助!

Hi DAXU laoshi, thanks a lot for your excellent teaching. I even
re-viewed a second time the series and could improve a lot my accent as my
chinese teacher here in Berlin remarked. BTW did you write a book? Please let
me know.知您

1 Like

Hello Wande, thanks for your response, and I appreciate your support very much!
Sorry, I have not written my book yet. But I promise, you will be informed the publishing day. ; )

1 Like

Hello, Ms./Miss/Mr. 688688191!

Actually, I don’t suggest Mandarin learners to learn the 3. tone with a rising-up tail first, because it’s a lower frequency form (emphasis pattern). And if a learner says the form too early and too much, which often makes him not able to say 3. Tone naturally, but mix up with 2. tone or just sound strange.

Regarding to the basic idea of 3. tone, please watch the episode 6 and 7, you will find our brand new explanations about 3. Tone and 2. Tone. You might also go through the other episodes about tones, you could get some more important breaking-through and practical ideas.

Best Regards,
Frederic (Xu Laoshi)

Was really useful and interesting, I am not a native english speaker so i didn’t exactly face the same challenges but it helped so much anyway.

I got a (very specific) question, how do you pronounce 嗯 ńg ?

Thank you so much for this series!

Hi there. Fiona has made a short video with some ways of pronouncing the character 嗯 (en)



As for me, I use Mozila and it doesn’t work…

Where are you based? If you’re in China, you might like to try a VPN.

As a young language instructor - I teach Spanish to English-natives & vice versa - I found this series so helpful. I’ve been lucky enough to have acted in plays & films & taken music lessons (voice, piano, guitar, drums, composition) since the age of 6-7; after almost two decades of theatrical & musical training - training in sensitive & discerning listening & communicating - I’ve come to naturally hear & quickly adapt to the nuances of rhythm, tone, & pronunciation in dialects. I also have synesthesia, so I can absolutely attest to the four tones having “colors” :wink: This is obviously great for me when I’m learning languages, but I’ve found I often take it for granted & sometimes have a real blind spot as a teacher when my students have different ways of learning & intuiting, of listening & then processing what they hear. As a teacher in the heat of the classroom, I can find myself getting frustrated: “Why would I need to tell them where to put their tongue or tense their lips? Can’t they just listen & recreate the sounds they hear?” Being able to take a more detached position from behind the computer screen, to watch from a distance as Karl & Gwilym work through a lot of these more difficult sounds in Chinese - & find their own unique ways from very different English accents (US v. UK) toward more native-sounding speech - has been instructive. I think now I have a better sense of how to effectively incorporate those mechanically-oriented muscle-placement tips into my own teaching, especially for those amazing - &, to me, rather mysterious - students with the more technical, so-called “left-brain” approach to learning. Thanks guys, you’re making me a better Mandarin speaker & a better teacher at the same time!

Also - Xu老师 rocks!

1 Like

For anyone interested, here’s a pronunciation tip (for any L2) that I’ve found helpful for, I’d say, on average… 3/8(?) of my later stage, more intermediate students (usually the more histrionic, outgoing, “class-clown” types). Disregard it if you find it unhelpful or disagree with the approach. That is: when speaking the target language, you can try to almost comically over-exaggerate the native accent you’ve gotten used to hearing, so that maybe to you or your [insert native language here]-speaking friends, it would sound like you’re actually making fun of the native accent the way a comedian might. In my 13 years of learning & speaking Spanish, I’ve been amazed to find that when I try to just sound like my natural self when speaking Spanish with native Spanish-speakers, I’m often misunderstood - my accent becomes too slack, colorless, & North American. But when I take on a sort of persona or character voice (for me I actually imitate the used-car dealer from El Salvador I always hear on the Spanish-language radio station in my hometown here in the US), the native speaker almost always compliments me on my near-native accent. To them it doesn’t sound comical or “stereotypical” but rather confident & polished. I recently tried this over Skype during an English-Chinese language exchange with a native Mandarin-speaker (doing my best impression of 巧虎的爸爸 from the kids’ cartoon), & she 100% agreed that it didn’t sound to her like an “impression” at all but actually quite native. Maybe give it a try with a native-speaker & ask for their thoughts.

1 Like

Rockin’ that S. Pellegrino in the back. Come elegante!

I am doing my 2nd walktrough to the series now.
In my humble opinion it is the most valuable content on ChinesePod at the moment .

I would like to see Frederic again with more pronunciation teachings.

Are there any plans of further cooperation with him?

1 Like

I’m certainly enjoying the series! It’s helping cross a few hurdles as a newbie and allowing me to approach pinyin with ease. I’m a few lessons away from completing Say It Right, but I’m noticing that there’s no specific lesson for the mandarin ‘r’? It feels like one that should be in there, unless it pops up in these last few. All around, though, this is a wonderful series.

1 Like

I’m about half way through the Say It Right Series and this has been REALLY helpful. Jiānádà was a total killer for me until I watched the video with the 2nd and 4th tones. My 2nd tone was starting way too low and I couldn’t make the 1st+2nd+4rd+ transitions sound smooth. Tacking on rén made it that much harder. Now it’s a piece of cake! :slight_smile:

1 Like

What a fantastic series - currently up to lesson 12 of the 22 provided, but the highlights for me are:
-Great discussion on tone 3 as low crackle and on where to to put the time duration and vowel emphasis.
-Really helpful comments on emphasis pattern styles and the fact that it is more prevalent when speaking single words - which explained why I was hearing conversations different from textbox.
-Never heard the neutral tone comments before,. ie that the tone varies dependent on the previous character or on whether is emphasis style - really helpful.

You have a great choice of external tutor in Xu Laoshi - he must be greatly admired by his students, and I found his comments on mouth shape and vowel improvement to be directly applicable to my speaking.

The only puzzle is why you made the series so hard to find - I saw your whats new comment and went looking for it. Using the search words of “say it right” or “tones” did not find it. Looking under lessons, series, playlists or shows did not find it, and there are no other options on the android app to find it.

It was only when I went to the web site, I found it had its own special listing at the top which I had overlooked. (How come the android app does not show these lessons?)

I think the series is a real treasure, and a key learning experience, and so I suggest you add a duplicate access point under series,and under playlists,and under lessons, and probably under both elementary and newbie categories.(summarise as basically everywhere that it might help a learner).

You should make it really easy to find and adding it in the searchable lesson database would really help other learners to find it early which then makes your site stand out from others that seem similar.

1 Like

Wow, just finished watching the Tones 2 video (5) and as a learner of Chinese for the last 15 years (on and off) I have never come across such a clear and fascinating explanation and modelling of the tones. I feel like I have got to the stage where I can mimic a lot of the sounds and as long as use them in context I can be understood but I am not always confident I have the tones correct especially if it is new vocabulary. I think the ChinesePod team are doing a fantastic job and I’m looking forward to watching more. If only something like this had existed when I started out!! Thanks CP team for this series.

1 Like

Hello, I am new to Chinese Pod, and I have been watching the say it right series to start. However, I am nervous about making wrong pronunciations because I do not have anyone to hear and correct me if I am speaking incorrectly. I will continue with the videos and drills, but I can’t afford a private teacher because I am a college student. I would appreciate any suggestions you can provide! Oh, and thank you for the great content.

Dorothycowlingkǎi, for characters I am finding this book very useful:

Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters: (HSK Levels 1 -3) A Revolutionary New Way to Learn and Remember the 800 Most Basic Chinese Characters

1 Like

Hi Jacob,

Please do not worry in the beginning stage. I am thinking now, if in our forum we can leave voice messages! Well, now you can see I am no IT person here.

One of the first ways to practice your pronunciation alone is to record yourself and listen to yourself. First start with reading one character with the four tones, like ma(1), ma(2), ma(3), and ma(4). You say this four characters many times until you can hear yourself differentiating the tones in your recording. Then you can move on playing with the next combination that comes to your mind, say, ba(1), ba(2), ba(3), ba(4). And so on. The main goal of this activity is to train yourself to hear that you actually are saying different words! When you say enough of the four tones, using very simple pinying, to the point that you can easily discern you are saying different tones, then you have achieved differentiating the tones.

Now the question is, did you say the tone right? Just like when we are singing, we can say do ri mi fa so la ti, but not exactly sounding the right tone. If you find yourself in this situation, then you can go back to the say it right series to match your 1st tone with the teacher’s. That way, you can hear how “off” you are from the correct pronunciation and you can do some work to try to match it. Now a small reminder: everyone speaks in a different range, and the teachers speak in a specific range (think Soprano) which is maybe not at all your normal speaking range. (Think a Soprano singer and a tenor speaker). In this case, it’s actually very hard to match the tones and this is where having a friend or speaking buddy can be really helpful.

Please let me know if this helps?


Have you looked into There are tutors there with very low prices for an initial lesson - if you look for them. You would just need an occasional lesson to check your pronunciation. If even the trial lessons are out of your range, let me know. I have a lot of friends there who might be persuaded to do a one-time thing for free.