Site Feedback

Resolved questions
Shanghainese accent?

This question is quite tricky to explain, so I'm going to ask in English this time.

I'm studying Mandarin Chinese in Sweden, and I have two Chinese teachers, one from Beijing and one from Shanghai. I've noticed that their pronunciation differs when it comes to pronouncing 问. My teacher from Beijing pronounces 问 as "wen", as a regular "w" is pronounced in English. However, my teacher from Shanghai pronounces 问 more like "ven", as a "v" is pronounced in English.

The teacher from Shanghai speaks much better Swedish than the teacher from Beijing does, and I'm not sure if this has something to do with her pronunciation. The letter "w" doesn't exist in Swedish except for in loanwords, so it's very typical of Swedes to pronounce a "w" as a "v" (in all languages). So, I was wondering if the teacher from Shanghai was somehow accommodating for the Swedish students, or if this is typical of a Shanghainese accent?

For learning: Chinese (Mandarin)
Base language: English
Category: Language



    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:


    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    That's an interesting question. Even though the pinyin of 问 is wen, both wen and ven are the correct pronunciations of 问 in standard Mandarin. If you ever watch CCTV, you may notice that some announcers on it pronounce 问 as wen, while others pronounce it as ven. You know, the pronunciation of announcers on CCTV is generally regarded as standard Mandarin pronunciation. This is surprising, isn't it?

    However, it should be noted that the ven in Mandarin is not exactly the same as the ven in English. If you pronounced 问 as ven in English, it would sound a little weird. When pronouncing the Chinese ven, be sure to touch your upper incisors to your lower lip gently and for a very short time.

    Her accent

    nope, speaking better Swedish just means having better access to the language learning materials
    and general "flexibility" of southern people's personality

    as for Chinese -- the syllables aren't as important as tones
    so whether you say 问 as "wen" or as "ven" isn't as important as clear "èn"

    and yes, southern "v" is different from northern "w"
    yet it's not a big deal in the Chinese language with 56 ways of saying same things

    wen and ven both are Correct. It depends on the speakers.As for me,sometimes I speak wen and Sometimes ven as well. I'm in Beijing. And I notice That many friends around me speak in the same way I am. By the way,some including me think ven sounds much more beautiful than,wen.

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.