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Pronunciation: shè jì vs shì jì

Hi ChinesePod team, my question is this:
Is there any existing video lesson where the difference in pronunciation of shè jì and shì jì is shown and can be practiced? If not, would it be possible to get a video lesson where the small, but relevant differences in pronunciation of these two sounds are explained and can be drilled and practiced?

Hello Matija,

I did a search on our website and although I didn’t find video lessons explaining these two specific pronunciation, I did find some other resources that I think will be helpful for you!

  1. Pinyin chart
    This is a very useful page for learning pronunciation, and I recommend that you take a look at the pinyin chart and listen to the sounds carefully. I’ve listed out the pages that help explain the issue you have.

The [i] in shi does not produce the sound [ee], which you might be familiar with. Instead, the shi sound should be similar to the beginning of “shirt”, right before you pronounce the r sound. In fact, shi sounds exactly like [sh], so mastering one of them means you can pronounce both!

The e in she sounds like the “uh” in “duh”.

You can think of the she sound as the combination of shi and e.

If you still have trouble with the two sounds, you can check out the pinyin program series, and you will have more listening practice and examples.

Pinyin Section 9
https://www.chinesepod.com/lesson/pinyin-section-9/35

Lastly, the Say it Right series is also a very helpful resource when it comes to pronunciation and tones. In the following episode, they explain some tricky initials including [s] and [sh].

Say it right
https://chinesepod.com/playlist/say-it-right/pronunciation-3

Hope this helps!

Sincerely,
Rebecca

Hi Rebecca, these are great videos and the pinyin chart is awesome. It’s all helpful and thank you for the links. It made it all easier to follow and I very much appreciate your reply.

It would be of additional help to see and hear a video demonstrating the difference in the pronunciation of words such as chi & che, shi & she using fourth tone, as well as first tone.

For example:
zhè shì shí liù shì jì shè jì de

wǒ zài chē shàng chī fàn

Hi Matija,

I’m very glad that it’s helpful for you! That’s a good lesson suggestion, we were talking about making a series that introduces the common homophones or pronunciations and tones that get easily confused in Chinese. Good to know that you would have found it useful!
For now, I think another way for you to practice is go to the dictionary page and search for the words. Listen to the example sentences repeatedly and because they are all authentic recordings recorded by our hosts, you can learn to be familiarized with the sounds in different contexts and I think it will be helpful for distinguishing them!
Such as this one:
https://www.chinesepod.com/dictionary/设计

Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy learning!

Rebecca

The dictionary is awesome, thank you for reminding me of its existence.

One thing, I can’t find an audio button for hearing how a word is pronouncing individually. I saw there are sample sentences with audio buttons and that’s great. Is there a way to here the individual pronunciation of a word?

Hello Matija,

That’s great to hear!
The design of dictionary page is a bit different in the new dashboard, so that’s why you can’t hear the individual pronunciations.
But you can always switch back to the old dashboard and use the old version of dictionary:

And this is the page for the word 设计 [shè jì]:

And there you go! Now you can listen to individual pronunciations and all the sample sentences. Enjoy!

The pronunciations can even be downloaded! That’s great.

Rebecca, thank you for the awesome support and help. All the questions have been answered, and even more on top of that.

Hi Matija,

No problem, I’m happy to help!
You can also reach me at rebecca@chinesepod.com. Let me know if you ever need any academic support, lesson recommendations, or just some help in Chinese!

Stay safe and healthy, happy learning!

Rebecca