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Learner SC
Do Chinese poems help tones in normal speech.

It is quite straightforward to realise that say a Chinese poem properly, one needs to have good control over tones on individual words.


My question is how much can it help in getting better with ordinary Chinese speech?


By better, we mean saying the right tone for the correct word when speaking out loud.



This is not the same as reading some text out accurately.


(I found from previous experience that I can speak Cantonese with a pretty good accent but if I were to read out Chinese in Cantonese, the tones would become widely inaccurate. Visualisation of the word would actually cause some interference).

Aug 2, 2016 6:00 AM
Comments · 5

To Learner SC,

     I can understand your annoyance with the tones and actually I have similar trouble when speak English.

     In China, there is a joking adage "天不怕地不怕,最怕广东人说普通话(There are nothing worth fearing in the world except for the Cantonese people's speaking Mandarin)". As a matter of fact, people with mother tongue of Cantonese or Hokkien or Hakka generally speak Mandarin worse than those who speak other dialects.

     If you basically live in HK and still want to improve your Mandarin, I advise you try your best to create more Mandarin-used opportunities, such as making friends and chatting with those who speak Mandarin well, watching series or films of Mandarin, and so on.

I‘m not a native Mandarin speaker nor a Cantonese one, and my mother tongue is Hakka. I am self conscious of the degree of accuracy of my Mandarin and Cantonese, not superior to the natives but better than most of the Cantonese. I guess hearing more and speaking more are very important. 

August 2, 2016
I think  you should take a few special examples, many persons who know both Mandarin and Cantonese will help you. However, you talk about Canone and Mandarin indisdinctly like this, if one wanted to help you, he doesn`t know how to help you..for an example,大街,Cantonese speaker reads it “ da4gai1” ,Mandarin speaker reads it"da4jie1"
August 2, 2016

I am very self concious of a Cantonese tone being expressed for certain words when (attempting to) speak Mandarin. In addition, I also have my native language accent coming in.


From feedback, I sound understandable and I attribute this to the a) the large diasphora of Cantonese speakers and B) influence of Cantonese pop culture into mainland China.


Unfortunately, it is not very accurate so I aspire to a greater degree of accuracy. Mind you, I have heard worse tones and pronunciation from some of my HK colleagues trying to speak Mandarin and they can still be understood by mainland Chinese. I don't know how....

August 2, 2016
Could you tell me what exact problems you have met with about tones of Chinese? An instance may lead to a more effective discussion. And I think the Cantonese speaking way may quite differ from the Mandarin's, sometimes reading the Cantonese words with Mandarin tones is very absonant and vice versa.
August 2, 2016

In my point of view,the morden poems have no diffrence from the text,and there is almost no rhyme in morden poems.even there is,it has no regular law to obey.

but most poems are short and refined.You can try it.

August 2, 2016
Learner SC
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English, French
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)