A French Kid’s Adventure: Conquering the Mandarin Pronunciation Challenge with Online Classes!

Lisa, a 9-year-old French girl, started learning Mandarin when she was 8. Yet, due to the differences between French and Chinese, Chinese pronunciation was quite challenging for Lisa. In her journey from “Bonjour” to “你好,” she found herself in a language maze full of tough hurdles.

For Lisa, telling apart nasal sounds was a real puzzle. In French, they’re not common, so figuring out the differences between “an/ang”, “en/eng”, “in/ing” was confusing. She often mixed them up, making her pronunciation less precise. Plus, rolling her tongue was a big challenge. In French, there are a few rolled sounds, but they’re different from Mandarin’s “zh”, “ch”, “sh”, and “r”. In addition, distinguishing between aspirated and unaspirated sounds was also tough. It’s not as clear-cut in French as in Mandarin. So, Lisa often struggled to accurately say sounds like “b/p”, “d/t”, “g/k”. To help Lisa overcome these pronunciation hurdles, her online Mandarin teacher at eChineseLearning, an online Chinese school with 18 years of history, used some fun methods, which worked quite well.

1. Find Pinyin Flashcards

To address Lisa’s frequent confusion with Chinese pronunciation, her online Mandarin teacher devised a fun interactive game: Pinyin Flashcards. Before each class, the teacher would display some Pinyin flashcards on the screen, and then they’d play a game of “Find the Pinyin” together. The teacher would say a Pinyin, and Lisa had to locate the corresponding flashcard on the screen and read it aloud. This interactive game not only helped Lisa memorize the Pinyin but also improved her pronunciation accuracy. What’s even better, Lisa successfully distinguished between nasal sounds in Chinese through this game. By carefully listening to the teacher’s pronunciation, Lisa also learned how to differentiate these subtle tonal differences, making her Chinese pronunciation more authentic.

2. Imitating Chinese Cartoons

Lisa loves watching cartoons and has a passion for performing, inspiring her online Mandarin teacher to come up with a new idea: imitating Chinese cartoons. Whenever the teacher plays clips of Chinese cartoons in class, Lisa is always eager to participate. Besides explaining Chinese culture depicted in the cartoons, the teacher guides her in imitating the characters’ lines, pronunciation, and expressions, which has become an essential part of every class. This imitation technique also helped little Lisa learn to distinguish and pronounce rolled sounds more accurately. When imitating dialogues from Chinese cartoons, she began to pay attention to how characters articulate these complex syllables clearly. She diligently imitated and practiced, gradually mastering these elusive pronunciation. This method not only improved Lisa’s oral expression but also enhanced her sensitivity to Mandarin pronunciation, making her pronunciation more precise and natural.

3. Blow the Paper

To help Lisa better grasp the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds in Mandarin pronunciation, her Mandarin teacher devised a game called “Blow the Paper.” Before the class begins, the teacher would ask Lisa’s parents to help prepare some thin paper pieces to realize the interaction in the class. At the start of the game, the teacher demonstrated how to pronounce aspirated sounds correctly, then encouraged Lisa to try. When she successfully produced the correct aspirated sound, the paper would flutter as if applauding her efforts. However, if there was a mistake in pronunciation, the paper would lie still on the table, serving as a silent reminder. This lively feedback allowed Lisa to visually understand and distinguish between aspirated and unaspirated sounds more effectively, creating a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. This interactive learning method not only improved her pronunciation accuracy but also sparked her interest and engagement in learning.

There are some differences in different languages, but that’s what makes learning different languages so much fun. So don’t hesitate to start learning Mandarin because of the complexity of Mandarin pronunciation. eChineseLearning has helped and witnessed many children achieve great success in their Mandarin learning journey. Follow us closely to explore and dig up your or your child’s own Mandarin treasure!

If you are interested in online Mandarin classes for yourself or your kid, sign up for a free trial class via the form on this page, and we will be happy to help.

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