This week’s roundup is about tones.
Tones are a part of what makes learning Chinese hard and interesting. You’ll never have great Mandarin without great tones. And although they take years to master, learners rarely focus on them, which makes learning tones even more frustrating. Recently there have been a slew of good articles about tones: I just had to share them!
Sinoglot has a post with some nice tips on tones. These are things I wish I had known when I started studying Chinese. And almost no roundup of Chinese Blogs would be complete without Sinosplice. John Padsen introduces an interesting concept for getting rid of bad tones. Everyone has thousands of bad tones in their system that they have to get out before they can master tones. In other words, you’ll never have good tones until you practice enough to get rid of the bad tones. In a later post, he mentions his desire for Chinese teachers to pay more attention to tones. I agree with the sentiment. Too many teachers seem to exhibit a belief that tones will come naturally with time. From my experience (and the experience of watching others), I have found that tones only come to those who practice. If you want some more tips on practicing tones, I suggest you start with Sinosplice’s “The Process of Learning Tones“.
All this talk about tones leaves me pondering a question: Everyone knows how important tones are… so why do so many learners avoid studying them? Let me know your answer in the comments.