Phonetics and finding the right character in Chinese

Hello Friends !!!

As you know this website is all about languages and how to master them efficiently. I’m currently what we call a POLYGLOT, speaking four languages at different levels but I’m working hard to reach my goal which is getting the ABBB combination as a future Conference Interpreter. One of these languages is Chinese and let’s say that it’s not quite difficult to learn except for the 4 tones (5 with the neutral one) and the pronunciation which is basically a nightmare for any learner. But don’t give up and be creative because your creativity is what makes you stand out and be a unique learner of any language. Today I’m going to focus on my own way of learning to master these tones…

First of all, according to the “Movies/TvShows” section on the blog, you can guess that this is the main part of my training that’s why I created this section so that you can develop an interest, not particularly on my tastes but more on your ability to open your mind and ask yourself if you can find an interest in the culture of the language that you are studying, to boost your improvement. As I mentioned in an article before, I started learning Chinese for the first time in 2011, but it was at the end of 2016 that I began to apply the same method I used in English to my other languages. It all started with Meteor Shower a popular and famous drama which I had already watched in Korean and Japanese. I think it might have been the hardest part of my training and I figured that there was a huge difference between the way my Chinese teacher used to speak and an actual conversation between natives. I had a hard time getting used to the sounds, the tones etc. OMG it was awful! Then step by step, I began to like the story, the actors and I wanted to know more about China, the culture, more movies etc…

Then “Finding the right Character in Chinese” was born… This game is nothing new and maybe you can login to  where you can find so many identical tools ! But the one I created will be more personal and get you to not only have fun while watching movies and shows, but also help you improve at a fast pace on a daily basis. Moreover, you will be able to see in which situations these words and expressions are used.

These are what you will be needing to play:

  • A device (computer, laptop, iPad…)
  • a phone (with a Chinese character’s keyboard, cf featured image)
  • Headphones
  • Google Translate

How do you play? Well, you pick a movie or a drama of your interest, you listen carefully to what the protagonists say, you go to Google Translate and you write down what you’ve heard on your keyboard, you will have a lot of characters appearing in the toolbar, you need to choose the one that has a close meaning to the situation in the movie; it is all the more easier to check your answers since you usually have the subtitles in English and in Chinese characters.

That’s it and you will see yourself using Chengyus , popular Chinese idioms in no time. I would also like to add that you can use your Note app on your device to write down what you’ve found and create you own little glossary. Now let’s  see what I got:

Voilààà !! This is a sample of my little treasure hunt plus over 570 screenshots on my iPhone, I play all day everyday and I can’t get enough of the amount of words from different levels that I’ve been able to learn these past few months. What do you do with all of that? Answer : WRITE !!! You need to start writing these characters down so that you can memorize them to make your readings and listening comprehension more fluent.

This is the first quote that I found in the new drama Wen Nuan de Xian with Zhang Hans:


Translation: “In our entire life, parents, birth, blood, are all the things that we can’t change. But God is fair. The only thing we can do is to work hard for ourselves and be strong. At the end of the day, the only thing people will remember about us is our name and not our family.” 

Published by Adjoua

Future Translator/Conference Interpreter Follow the Journey to my dream and discover the cities I'm staying in, the languages I speak... Follow me during this incredible experience to become a Conference Interpreter

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