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Z,C,S tongue position and producing sound

I find this group really hard to understand when it comes to the tongue position. There is an old topic but it’s from 2016 so I thought I’d be better of making a new one.

I’m suppose to get my tongue all flat down at the back and my tip against my lower front teeth.
What part actually makes up the sound?
When I do like this the air flows between the flat tongue and out of my front upper teeth, I don’t understand how to use my tongue to make sounds in this position.

Can anyone clarify?

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Great question! For these initials, the tip of your tongue will be vibrating as the source of the consonant sound. As for the vowel, I don’t think there isn’t really an equivalent in English. It sounds like sounds like the ‘i’ in ‘if’, except you’re doing it with your teeth shut and your tongue against the roof of your mouth. I always thought it sounded like buzzing bees!

I think I got the sound now after some drills, but it really is like buzzing.
The difference from Z,C,S and J,Q,X (as I understood) is that in the latter, the tongue middle pressed against your upper gum to squeeze the air out differently, and maybe a bit more smiling. It’s kind of amazing how the sound can be altered so heavily by such a small movement!

Hi Stumpe,
I think you did right tongue position, get your tongue all flat down, the tip of your tongue against your lower teeth, the air flows from your tip of your tongue and between the teeth. " z, c, s" is kind of fricative, just like English “dz, ts, s” the same pronounciation,hope it can help you.

Is it easy to learn Chinese through this method: Tongue realization?

Hi Philips,

Since there are a lot of unique sounds in Chinese, a lot of our learners have found it useful to focus on the placement of the tongue to pronounce these sounds.

For Z,C,S initials, the tongue position is the same. As previously discussed, the tongue stays touching the lower row of teeth. The difference between these is the gap between the teeth that lets the air out (and hence the sound). The biggest gap is for Z, then C, and its practically closed for S. It is almost a progressive hissing sound, where S sounds like the full hissing sound.

Hope this helps!

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@BettyZheng Yes, but I cant understand the image.
Is there any video on this please?

Hi Philips,

Here is a video I found on youtube that explains this clearly.


Thanks for your kind interrest in helping me. You may consider creating a similar video on ChinesePod.
Xiexie ni

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