You've heard the horror stories. All it takes is a sullen first tone, a half-hearted fourth, or a kowtowing third that isn't quite obsequious enough for the locals to turn on you. And then your innocent little trip to the Pearl Market has morphed into a journey through the Heart of Darkness.

We still think any reasonable language shouldn't make the difference between "buy" and "sell" hinge on pitch alone, especially since everyone gets a bit worked up haggling (honest question: how do the stock markets work?). But since China is unlikely to take our advice on this anytime soon, this podcast will help you slow it down, review the basics and get them right.
 said on
September 23, 2008
The first word in the glossary list doesn't have the right character. =)
 said on
September 24, 2008
@johan.helenius,

OK, fixed. Check it out again.

谢谢:)

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
September 24, 2008
nice lesson. there's a garden path sentence in the introduction that caught me for a moment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_path_sentence

 said on
October 15, 2008
Hi,

You're right, I was a stock broker and I had a client ask me to buy. But I sold it for him, instead. He was gracious enough to say "Mei wenti." but there is a happy ending to this story. It turned out that I had done the right thing, because he eventually made money on this deal.

Thereafter he would instruct me to " mai jin " or "mai chu " Thank heavens, the market then was not as volatile as it is nowadays.

jiāyóu 加油 Popup Chinese,

Chen Jin Hua,

Singapore
 said on
October 15, 2008
that's a funny story, mikey2tan. Glad things worked out.
 said on
November 21, 2008
Is there any software you recommend that's fun and keeps you practicing for hours on mostly tones or vocab, or just beginner stuff. It'd be nice to have something which just played different words for hours, focusing on tones.
 said on
November 21, 2008
cassattila - I like to listen to music. even if you don't understand the lyrics at first, they eventually start making sense and it gets you speaking faster than just tones.

There are some songs in the KTV Wednesday section here that are pretty good. i really like Wang Fei (more Wang Fei!!!), and you can find her music on Youtube pretty easily. This is my favorite:

Wo3 yuan2 yi4 wei4 ni3 = "I am willing to (exist?) for you"
 said on
November 21, 2008
Wow, I've never been a fan of Chinese music before, because it I'm not a very into pop. I listen to reggae myself. I guess I was just focusing on the tones, but that song was beautiful.. I gotta listen to some more haha. I have a friend who can loan me some great Chinese music too.
 said on
November 21, 2008
cassattila - John Pasden has a Mandarin Chinese Tone Pair Drills package on his website which you can download. It's more to get you practising the pronouncing of tones, but you could grab all the mp3s and make a playlist for listening practice too.
 said on
November 21, 2008
Whoa, thank you weijin, this is perfect.

I put a chinese word mp3 on repeat on window media player and listen to my music in the background, I never thought I would be this lucky with learning resources.
 said on
November 21, 2008
@cassattila - there's some hip-hop here in Beijing, but I've never run into Chinese reggae. Let us know if you run into any.
 said on
November 21, 2008
Theres only one reggae store Ive heard of and its in Beijing. its not very sucessful, but I bet if you added Chinese vocals to the drum and bass of ghetto Reggae, itd be a hit some day.

I mean at least three of Jamaica's record producers were chinese.
 said on
November 30, 2008
chinese reggae you can listen here:

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=2MHpcJoEv-g

tomas
 said on
December 1, 2008
interesting. thanks tomas. :)
 said on
May 10, 2009
one way i have found to help learn tones is to find word situations in my native language (american english) and use them to understand the tone contour for pronouncing chinese...

like hmmm goes down and up just like third tone, or well? goes from low to high like second, etc...

also you can try to find phrases in your own language that would give a good representation of tone combinations, like "well I never!" well4 I1 ne4 ver4

then you can use this natural tonal concept and simply import the chinese phonetics into what is already a natural tonal situation and it flows much easier...for me at least...maybe others will find the idea helpfull...
 said on
May 10, 2009
@nadasax,

作为一个“外国人”,我真的想象不出怎么把英语的"well I never!",发成 “well2 I1 ne4 ver4”,尤其是“ne4 ver4”的部分。 还请大师指教一二 :)

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
May 10, 2009
@echo

"well i never" may not be said by young people much anymore, but it is a very well known set phrase in english, and while english may not have explicit tonal associations with word meanings, all english words get pronounced with intonation just as in chinese,

its simply that english intonation is flexible and can be applied to any word... english intonation has less to do with defining word meaning as providing contextual association,

that said, a word like never, if listened to carefully, generally gets pronounced with two downward high to low intonational stresses, perhaps not 100% the exact same as a chinese person, but a very effective analogy for people who are beginning to understand what may seem like a very foreign concept until they realize they do the (basicaly) same thing themselves all the time, they just don't pay attention to it-

lastly, as i said, its just something i found works well for me so i offer it to those who also may find it helps them...

谢谢 =)
 said on
May 11, 2009
@nadasax,

I have the similar feelings about English too. Since my mother tongue is a tone language, I am more sensitive about the intonation.

I think your suggestions is absolutely helpful. Thank you for the explanation of "well I never" too :)

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
February 15, 2015
I am a native American English speaker. This might help you other native English speakers.

I got this tip from my Chinese teacher that has helped me a lot:

As you native English speakers already know.... in spoken English certain expressions are spoken in certain tones. For example: when we say "of course" the word "course" is spoken in 4th tone. So whenever I would say "of course" in Chinese (dang1ran2) I would always say "dang1ran4" instead of "dang1ran2".

One thing that helped me break that habit is this little exercise: say every syllable in an English sentence like "Of course I would love to go with you" in second tone. It helps make you aware of tones we native English speakers subconsciously have learned to use in English.
 said on
July 25, 2021
Never thought about the stock market in China before...

Mai! Mai! Mai! Mai! Mai!