Speak Chinese Like A Native Project

A Project on how to pronounce the tones like you were born and bred in China

Example image

I stepped into my first Chinese class in May 2012 at Kenyatta University Confucius Institute and I have been using Chinese professionally as from September 2014 when I landed my first translation job at the Standard Gauge Railway. Speakig Chinese is natural for me but not the idioms which are a headache. Speaking like a Chinese native requires alot of time and preactise, something that many non natives dont have time. When I was in China - Nanjing I spent quite some time recording any native speacker (with their permission) so that I would practise later on how they articulated their tones. This really helped me gain a good foundation in tones.

With time however, I gradually stopped due to time constrains and I feel now that am preparing for HSK Level 6 I need to restart this project. I still have the recordings and those will help me get back on my feet. This time I selected a small text from the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi’s website which I used as a starting point. I sent the text to my Chinese teacher requesting her to read it and record her voice, which later she sent me as a .m4a file. M4A is a file extension for an audio file encoded with advanced audio coding (AAC) which is a lossy compression. M4A was generally intended as the successor to MP3, which had not been originally designed for audio only but was layer III in an MPEG 1 or 2 video files. M4A stands for MPEG 4 Audio. AAC or M4A file quality is better and file sizes smaller compared to MP3 files.

Plan

  • Select Good Text
  • Send to Teacher(Chinese Native)
  • Week 1 - Read, Understand Text & Send Recording for Review - Upload on SoundCloud
  • Week 2 - Improve on Mistakes and Resend for Review - Upload on SoundCloud
  • Week 3 - Clean Up Mistakes and Note on How Native Pronounces - Upload on SoundCloud
  • Week 4 - Project Complete - Youtube Video

Foundation Text Chinese Characters

7月18日,驻肯尼亚大使刘显法会见肯内政部新任代理部长马蒂安吉,就中肯安全和执法领域合作交换意见。 刘大使祝贺马蒂安吉就任代理内政部长,并表示,近年来中肯安全和执法领域交流日益频繁,合作成果丰硕。中方愿同肯方一道努力,确保蒙内铁路、拉穆港等中肯务实合作大项目安全顺利运营、实施,确保在肯中国企业和公民安全,为中肯全面战略合作伙伴关系发展保驾护航. 马蒂安吉赞同刘大使对两国安全和执法领域合作成就的评价,表示肯方将全力以赴,不断强化安全措施,加大对肯中务实合作项目、中国企业和公民的保护力度,助力肯中关系发展

Native Chinese Pronounciation

The following is what I will use as my benchmark. Its a lady’s voice and since she is a professional Chinese teacher I thought she’d be best to start with. Until I find a way to put the track on this wesite, you will have to listen to her on SoundCloud.

Week1 Progress Report

After going through the text, understanding it, and practising it, here is my recording on SoundCloud as usual.

After listening to my recording she was quick to note the following mistakes. Seems am not so good at all. One of the things she pointed out was that my pauses were unnatural, 停顿不自然

My Mistakes

  • 中肯 and 肯方
  • 交流
  • 两国安全
  • 公民
  • 停顿不自然

References