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Lesson 1 How to say "chu", "qu", "ren," and "yan" correctly

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Learn how to say "chu", "qu", "ren," and "yan" correctly
Learn how to say "chu", "qu", "ren," and "yan" correctly

Comments (116)

Was interested to hear in this video that the only difference between "chu" and "qu" is that the u becomes ü. I thought that "ch" vs. "q" differed in terms of tongue placement i.e. "ch" is retroflex tongue position. Is this not correct?
Nomis H 2 weeks 2 days ago
Yeah, there is definitely a difference in terms of tongue position between the 'q' and 'ch' sounds. In the video though, Yangyang is just recommending that if you're worried about or struggling with your ability to produce the 'q' sound in 'qu', you can just try to pronounce 'chü' and it will almost force your mouth to pronounce 'qu' correctly. Hope that helps!
Jason at Yoyo Chinese 2 weeks 1 day ago
Thanks Yangyang, I enjoyed the lesson and this helped clarify the mysterious 'r" sound! This site is awesome and very easy to follow. Thanks so much to everyone! Paul
paulbguimont@gmail.com 1 month 6 days ago
hi i have a question. YangYang said there is only one combination to make u become ü , which is qü. How about 聚 and 敘 are they different in this case ? thank you
gigimousey 5 months 2 weeks ago
She is talking about qu specifically in this video, but you are right, the same rule applies to ju, xu, and yu, too; they have only one possible pronunciation: jü, xü, yü, so the double dots are discarded. Seems confusing, like she said, but that's the rule. Actually, the rule is helpful sometimes, because with the two dots there, the tone mark can be very hard to read in small print (it's hard enough even without the two dots sometimes!).
Corey 5 months 2 weeks ago
Thanks for weighing in and clarifying Corey! :) Gina if you're still confused, please take a look at our pinyin chart. It even has a video explanation each for ju, qu, xu, yu since they have this special spelling rule!
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 5 months 2 weeks ago
Is there a difference between "hao bu hao" and "hao de?"
Paul Nyhart 6 months 3 weeks ago
Ah .. just saw the response below. NVM!
Paul Nyhart 6 months 3 weeks ago
Nice!
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 6 months 3 weeks ago
Hello, I'm french and the ü is very easy for us because it's our "u"
Jean-Martin 1 year 3 weeks ago
It's German. I'm from Germany.
karim.jordan 12 months 2 days ago
I just said that the French " u " is pronounced " ü " Hier gibt es keine rivalität, mfg.
Jean-Martin 12 months 1 day ago
Awesome!
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 1 year 3 weeks ago
What a good video, I have been using these for a while and the 'flick' of the tongue you mention is exactly right (from the back to the front). I dont like to pout so with practise, you can relax the pout and it becomes easier. That (r) in chi(r) is a pain in the 'ah'se for us Brits tho, again, like you mentioned. I have to go 'pirate' to say it. Whatever helps tho, if it works, it's not wrong! VTJS, this exact phrase has taken me maybe 6 months to begin to get right, but once you get it, ;)
Mr T 1 year 5 months ago
Thank you for the nice workds, Mr T. Glad that it helps. Keep up the good work. Happy studies. :)
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 5 months ago
I am finding some of this really hard and still haven't quite got it. The vowel sound in the second syllable of 出去 is difficult for me to get right. I have just input 出去 into "Google Translate" just to hear how it is pronounced there, and there the second syllable sounds to me like 'chi' not 'qu'. But I am assuming that is not correct and will try and copy your pronunciation of 'qu'.
VTJS 1 year 8 months ago
Right, it should not be "chi". You may spend sometime with our video-based pinyin chart on the pronunciation of "qu". It may just be a matter of practicing and training you ear to hear the difference. Please let us know if you have any further question.
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 8 months ago
I am glad I am not the only one who has trouble pronouncing ren! Thanks for the explanation.
Alicia Markey 1 year 8 months ago
Yup. You are not alone. Glad that it helped. :)
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 8 months ago
Hi, i've start to learn chinese, but steel don't dare to talk to chinese people, when they answer me i will be frozen, can i practice with someone on hangout? I've just added yoyo chinese on my circles. What should i do? o these videos are the hangout sessions? Thanks!
ribanez 1 year 8 months ago edited
It takes practice. Give yourself some faith, keep on trying. It will get easier. :) Sorry that we don't directly chat with students via hangout. There are many popular phone apps or websites that allows you to chat with people from all over the world, such as wechat or line. You may give them a try. Good luck.
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 8 months ago
I also highly recommend the HelloTalk app (Android and iOS). It has special features for language learners such as being able to correct the other person's written language, and them yours. You can send voice messages to each other, as well as voice chat in a telephone-like way. There are a ton of eager Chinese learners of English there you can practice with. Very fun :)
Corey 1 year 8 months ago
Right, that's a great app too. Thanks for sharing, Corey. :)
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 8 months ago
OMG thank you I only just found this video. Chu and Qu was soooo annoying. 我出去除气球! Aaargh!!
Zenith108 1 year 9 months ago
I first learnt to say ren pronouncing the r, and people understood what I said zhong guo Ren. Once I started to pronounce it with the j, or s sound no one quite understood and are always telling me my tone is wrong. I asked a Chinese guy to say "Chinese person" and he pronounced the r in ren. Talk about confused.
Davelist 1 year 11 months ago
The most important thing to keep in mind is that when you pronounce the "r" in Chinese, the tongue tip iscurled back a little further and has more friction than when you pronounce the American English "r." Also, while the English "r" is always accompanied by lip rounding, the Chinese "r" has lip rounding only when preceding "o" and "u." When it's in front of "a," "e", and "i," the lips are actually spread, not rounded.
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 10 months ago
Some native speakers do pronounce the "r" sound a little differently from others, and even within "standard" Mandarin pronunciation, there is some room for slight differences with how much "friction" there is. So in SOME cases it might sound more like the French "j" or even almost like the "s" in the English word "measure" to you, and in OTHER cases it might sound more like the American English "r" to you.
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 10 months ago
I think it depends on whom you are talking with. It seems to me that people from the south and Taiwan have less of the "j" sound and more of the "r" sound. So you can do the "when in Rome" thing, that is imitate the speaker's pronunciation to make them happy, or you can stick with the standard pronunciation. Personally, I'm trying to stick with the standard pronunciation, and so far I haven't received any flak about my "rén". Good luck!
Corey 1 year 11 months ago
Thanks for your reply, it makes sense as the people I work with are from Taiwan, I will stick with it to master the "j" sound. Thanks again.
Davelist 1 year 10 months ago
For English speakers, an easy way to teach the correct sound for the "u" with 2 dots on top, is to tell us to say the letter's name "u" which also sounds just like the English word "you".
McMahon 1 year 11 months ago
Corey's right. You may refer to our pinyin lesson 10 for the pronunciation of "ü".
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 11 months ago
That's actually how to say the u without the two dots. With the two dots it's a different sound, exactly like the German ü.
Corey 1 year 11 months ago
What is the position for the tongue in chi(r)? I have heard it is rolld upward against the roof of the mouth. Or is it?
gphill1450@gmail.com 1 year 11 months ago
Yes, that's right. You may also check out the next lesson, that talks more about "chi". :)
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 11 months ago
The ü sound was actually the easiest part of pinyin for me because I already speak German. 我是美国人 but I speak fluent German, and the way you explain it as making an "ee" sound while rounding the lips is exactly the way it was explained to us in German class.
Alex Casey 1 year 11 months ago
That's cool! Glad that it makes it easy for you. :)
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 11 months ago
Just wondering, what are the real usage of "chu(with little two dots on top of 'u')" in actual Chinese words? Could you provide any examples? I guess "chu(with little two dots on top of 'u')" is not actually common in actual usage? Thanks for your lecture Ms Yang!
mcle 2 years 1 month ago
There's no such pinyin with as "chü" in the pinyin system though. So there's no such Chinese character exists.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 1 month ago
This is awesome. I studied chinese with so many teachers and still could not figure these sound out. Thanks a stack its helped me loads.
mindanarchy 2 years 2 months ago
That was very helpful thanks. One question,Yangyang said ròu means meat or meet?
KADIYAH 2 years 2 months ago
ròu means "meat".
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 2 months ago
Great! Thank you Yangyang! Peter Cingel, Slovakia
Cingel 2 years 2 months ago
Awesome pronunciation tutorial. I have to say though, as a multi-lingual American (first language: English, also fluent in Russian and German), re: r , ren -- I definitely DO NOT hear the sound 'zh' consistently when this letter is used in other words, or even Zhōng guó rén , I swear I've listened hundreds of times, to different speakers, and sometimes hear a glide, 'jot/yot' , (y) j sound, or sometimes a slightly trilled 'R', such as Russian P (R).
Jim Gavioli 2 years 2 months ago
Ni3 Hao3! Could this work as a sincere apology? I am trying to say I'm so sorry, please forgive me. "Hěn bào qiàn, qǐng yuán liàng wǒ" Xie4 xie4!
Keelin.f 2 years 2 months ago
Yes, that's good. Or you may use fēi cháng instead of hěn.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 2 months ago
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
Dylan Joseph M 2 years 3 months ago
Why use pinyin at all if it's super confusing when you try and pronounce things? The romanization of foreign sounds should reflect how they'd be said using English spelling and English sounds, not with some unnecessarily inconsistent system that has nothing to do with how it is written in English. The worst offender of this is how "E" is pronounced "UUAGH" which is NOWHERE NEAR how the letter "E" is pronounced normally. Things should be spelled the way they sound.
worldjem 2 years 3 months ago
pinyin is intended to be an *international* aid to pronunciation of Chinese. It is not intended for English speakers only. If Chinese were to follow your method, you'd end up with tens, if not hundreds of different romanizations that cater to learners with with a particular mother tongue. For example, you'd need one for Spanish speakers, one for French, Russian, etc. That would be crazy. The other route you could go is to use the IPA, but that has many downsides too.
Corey 2 years 3 months ago
One question, so basically CH and Q have the same sound and the only thing that makes them different is the u and ü sound? Could you help me please, I don't quite get it.
pcobos 2 years 3 months ago
Ch and Q sound a bit similar, but they are not the same. Ch sounds like "ch" in "chirp", and Q sounds like "chee" in "cheese". You may check out our audio/video-based pinyin chart. Hope that helps.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 3 months ago
I Am still in the beginning stages of learning but loving every minute of. I really like picking up small phrases like "hǎo bù hǎo" but Chinese friends look at me funny, as their thinking, "whaaaat?" Am I saying something wrong or is there another expression for O.K.. This is better than Luminosity for keeping the brain working. Jim
firengine103 2 years 3 months ago
hǎo bù hǎo is totally fine to say, but it forms a question. To say "Okay" as a statement, you may simply say "hǎo de" or "kě yǐ". :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 3 months ago
Don't overdo it, Yangyang!!! The u-sound is no problem for English-speakers. the u-sound is the same as in "you" or in "too" or in "Sue". Don't make easy things difficult by over-explaining and over-practicing!! Please relax!
Englert 2 years 4 months ago
It depends on which "u" you are talking about. The "u" in qu is very different from the "u" in "chu".
Corey 2 years 4 months ago
yang yang why do chinese people bother me when i'm eating?
Beach 2 years 4 months ago
yangyang what does mei shir ba mean? (sorry but i forgot which were the tones)
pires 2 years 4 months ago
It means "are you okay?"
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 4 months ago
Which Pinyin IME are you using? I have the MS and the Tincient QQ...
stryker.graham 2 years 5 months ago
You may use this site to type pinyin:http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/webime2_pinyin.php. Hope that helps.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
Je suis un Québecois français,je N'ai pas de difficulté avec ces sons.Mais c'est intéressant de connaître comment différenciez ces sons.I'm a french quebecer,I don't have to pronouce this sound,but it's interesting to know how difference of this sound wt the piniyn. Thank for you attention. Friendly Mario
mario houde 2 years 5 months ago
I'm a french mean for me it's easy this sound. it's interesting to know how reconize this similar sound,to perfect chinese. Je un homme Quebecois Fraçais,alors je n'ai pas de difficulté avec ses sons. C'est intéressant de connaître comment reconnître ces son similaireet
mario houde 2 years 5 months ago
measure \me-zhər\ Two points of confusion for me. First, the "zhə" sound doesn't seem that prominent in regular speech. In Zhōngguó rén or Jià rì, I don't hear the \zhə\ sound. Second, the "r" doesn't sound consistent across all syllables (or tones) in the PinYin chart - "re", "rou", and "ren" yes, but rui2 and rui4 no. They sound like a straight r. Maybe I'm taking that \zhə\ sound too seriously!? FYI,I have one native speaking friend who suggests "rude" as an example of the "r". 谢谢我找真相
bapgobears 2 years 6 months ago
In the pinyin chart, I agree; I am not hearing that "jacques" sound in rui2 and rui4, but I hear it everywhere else. I wonder if these are just oddball exceptions to the to the "use the French j" rule. I had a listen on another site where you can hear a pronunciation, and I also do not hear a "French j" sound on rui2 either - it just sounds like how we would say ray2. I just got done listening to several other sites, and they are very inconsistent about this. (cont'd)
Corey 2 years 6 months ago
Looking at Wikipedia's article on Standard Chinese Phonology ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Chinese_phonology ), there is a section that talks about the 'r' sound, and says this: In syllable-initial position, pronounced by some speakers as [ɻ] (a retroflex approximant, similar to initial "r" in some varieties of English), and by some as [ʐ] (a voiced retroflex fricative, closer to the middle consonant sound of "vision").
Corey 2 years 6 months ago
Thanks Corey. That link is a nice resource for more technical research on the r sound. It does seem to say you may hear it pronounced two different ways which helps set my expectations.
bapgobears 2 years 6 months ago
My friend in Wuhan tells me some southern Chinese cannot say either 'r' sound, so they substitute an 'l' sound. For example 肉 sounds like lou4. Definitely isn't standard Chinese, though :-)
Corey 2 years 6 months ago
It's true that the "r" initial can sound a bit different depending on the vowel/final that follows it. The shape of your lips (rounded or not) and the position of your tongue in your mouth are always changing in order to pronounce the final correctly, so that can influence the way the "r" comes out sounding too. And there are definitely regional differences among native speakers in pronunciation of the "r" too.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 6 months ago
For your own pronunciation, just keep in mind that pronouncing the "r" with more "friction" like the "french j" is never wrong. And yes, don't over-think it! ;-)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 6 months ago
I was just about to ask if it's always acceptable to use that French j sound on all r* words, even rui, so you anticipated my question. It's taken me a bit of practice to be able to say these words all with the French j sound, so as long it's an acceptable pronunciation (if not always the most common), I will stick with it :D
Corey 2 years 6 months ago
Is there a website that a person can go to for typing pinyin?
China Doll 2 years 6 months ago
Corey 2 years 6 months ago
Yes, that's what we use too. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 6 months ago
Thank you so much for your explanations and tips! It's easier if you know other languages and I fortunatelly do. I love your videos.I hope I can learn also Chinese... with your help!
Palmieri 2 years 7 months ago
Thank you very much, it,s not easy, but it clearly about hard traning
Liemburg 2 years 7 months ago
Thank you for this video, the chu, qu and r are really my problem.
Yuxia 2 years 7 months ago
Thank you for your interesting VDO.
Jindapol 2 years 7 months ago
This is very helpful for better grasping the difference between Chu and Qu. Thanks!
DR 2 years 8 months ago
for some reason I can't watch all of this lesson it just stops and jumps to the end
justjer57 2 years 8 months ago
We are sorry to hear that happened, and we've checked the video, but it seems to play properly. Would you please try again, maybe use a different browser, or restart your device? Please let us know if the problem still exists.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
I can't really distinguish "qu" and "chi". Can you help a little bit more? Thanks ;-)
RedFoxJinx 2 years 8 months ago
To pronounce qu, you would have to round your lips and keep your tongue on the bottom, but for chi, you would have to curl your tongue a bit, sounds like "chi" in "chirp". Hope that helps.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
Good video
geotuc1 2 years 8 months ago
It is a very helpful video, thank you! But I can't still pronounce very well the word "qu"... I am going to practice more!
sasijoey 2 years 8 months ago
Wonderfully helpful, thank you. My mouth muscles are protesting from the lingual workout!
krimpvarkie 2 years 9 months ago
Glad that you found it helpful. Good luck with your Chinese studies! :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 9 months ago
The "u" sound is the usual one in many European languages. My suggestion for teaching the "u" (not in Mandarin, but in Scottish Gaelic) is to tell students to make their lips as round as possible, and test the way they form their lips by using a finger, pen or pencil - something with a circular shape - to stop the sound completely. If sounds escape to the sides, they're not doing it right.
fearchar 2 years 9 months ago
Thank you so much for your suggestion.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 9 months ago
I am leaving for Shenyang on the 21st of August and those lessons are helping but not easy. I just want to thank you. Shari Barry
sharibarryartaz@gail.com 2 years 9 months ago
Glad that you found them helpful! Have an awesome trip in Shenyang! :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 9 months ago
Thank you very much Yangyang! Your teaching technique is very good, very clear and easy understandable. My English is not very good so I can learn both from you English and Chinese . I really like all your lessons. Thanks again :)).....
Keokyo 2 years 10 months ago
Glad that you like our lessons. Thank you for your support. Good luck with your Chinese studies. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 10 months ago
Thank you Yangyang for your lessons, they truly are easy to comprehend. Although, I have a question. in a word 'ren' you pronounce R as [ʒ (IPA sound)], however I've heard some Asian people use a sound similar to American [r]. Is it correct to use american R sound in this case? How about in final position of a noun? If yes, in which dialect? Thanks once again! Love your lessons!
Lolipop979 2 years 10 months ago
So glad you like the lessons! Some native speakers do pronounce the "r" sound a little differently from others, and even within "standard" Mandarin pronunciation, there is some room for slight differences with how much "friction" there is. So in SOME cases it might sound more like the French "j" or even almost like the "s" in the English word "measure" to you, and in OTHER cases it might sound more like the American English "r" to you.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 10 months ago
The most important thing to keep in mind is that when you pronounce the "r" in Chinese, the tongue tip is curled back a little further and has more friction than when you pronounce the American English "r." Also, while the English "r" is always accompanied by lip rounding, the Chinese "r" has lip rounding only when preceding "o" and "u." When it's in front of "a," "e", and "i," the lips are actually spread, not rounded.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 10 months ago
As to your question about the final position of a noun, are you talking about the "er" final, such as in the word "zher" ("here")?
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 10 months ago
Thank you so much for making Mandarin easy and fun to learn! You are doing a great job yangyang! I mean it!
kaloyan.drenski 2 years 11 months ago
Thank you so much for the nice comments. Glad that you are having fun learning it. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
Stop being so cute and maybe I can learn some Chinese xD.. kidding. Great video, thank you for your hard efforts and clear teaching methods.
dean.taylor.503 2 years 11 months ago
Hehe..Thank you so much for the support. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
Amazing explanations and very good examples. You are the best teacher in the world
diego.v.desouza 2 years 11 months ago
Thank you so much for the nice comments and the support! :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
So chu1 and qu4 mean the same thing?
rob1234 2 years 11 months ago
They are not exactly the same. chu means to exit or out of, and qu4 means to go. There are extended meanings for these two characters. For more detail info please visit our grammar lesson 39 to 51 about complements and their extended meanings. Hope you find it helpful.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
Yanyang, you're so adorable, learning from you is not an effort, it's a pleasure! Watching you relaxes me, brings good mood and a smile on my face. Even if I hadn't had any problems in pronouncing "chu", "qu" and "chi" (because the same sounds exist in my mother tongue) I couldn't stop watching the video. You explained the pronunciation of the words "ren", "yan" and "long" so well that I'm quite confident to have matched the exact tones even though they don't exist in my mother tongue. Thx!
Mike01 2 years 11 months ago
Thank you so much for the support Mike. Keep up with the good works. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
Great video! Your explanation and illustrations were very effective :)
fefe.peart 2 years 11 months ago
Thank you so much for the support. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
Great video, so helpful with getting u sounds correct.
chris1108 2 years 12 months ago
nǐ hǎo! Yang Yang. This video is great! I am really learning how to say correctly the u and r sounds... Question: There is any way can we have the lecture note for this video?? Please? xiě xiě! Yesica
bryandang1@hotmail.com 3 years 1 week ago
This is truly fantastic! This is a great addition to my study. I just need to be consistent to remember it all.
jordan.parks.790 3 years 1 week ago
Thanks alot! to me, the'r' sound is the most tonque twisting among the sounds, but it will be o.k. in no time. Thanks again for making me able to learn properly. Paul, Thailand
Moody 3 years 2 weeks ago
Yes, it's a matter of practice. Good job on learning. :)
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 1 week ago
This was extremely helpful and I really like your teaching style.
jelani.stclair 3 years 2 weeks ago
Glad that you found it helpful. :)
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 1 week ago
The explanation of "u" and "ü" sounds was extremely helpful. The discussion on tongue placement was what really made it clear to me.
Fazzio 3 years 1 month ago
Glad that you found it helpful. :)
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 1 month ago
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